Transformation through dance 

Metamorphosis Dance Troupe tackles environmental, social issues in upcoming performance

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What: A Better Tomorrow

When: Sunday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Kay Meek Theatre, West Vancouver

Tickets: Adults $25, Seniors $15, Students $15

Clad in black tights and leotards, members of Metamorphosis Dance Troupe take their positions on the floor, giggling and playfully bumping hips before their instructor starts the music.

They are rehearsing “Trees,” an afro, jazz, contemporary dance, which is just one of many pieces the troupe will feature during their upcoming performance, A Better Tomorrow.

Soul Funktion Dance Studio’s competitive dance troupe is made up of 35 dancers, aged 11 to 18, who are trained in a wide range of styles of dance, including lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, musical theatre, and tap. Over the past four years, the studio’s team has competed in local and national competitions, bringing home awards and accolades.

But the girls and the director of the troupe, Heather Stremlaw, recently decided they were ready for a new challenge, inviting the dancers to help plan their first big show.

Stremlaw held a creation meeting with the girls, brainstorming issues and topics they wanted to explore through dance. She was a bit surprised by what they came up with.

“Pressures as teenagers, pressures of feeling not good enough and things like that,” Stremlaw said. “Negativity spreading within themselves and then to others, and it got bigger from there.”

Stremlaw and the dancers ultimately decided they wanted to convey their concerns about local and global social issues through a variety of topical dances, set against the backdrop of video displays.

“The girls really wanted to do something different with their dance and they wanted to be able to use their art as a vehicle to get across these issues that are important to them,” explained Nancy Saver, a spokesperson for the studio.

The dancers are able to offer a wealth of enthusiasm and a refreshing perspective on some very serious issues,

“It’s kind of refreshing to see, especially younger adults and teenagers in this town, wanting to be able to do something like this,” said Saver.

Growing up in Whistler, the dancers also decided that environmental issues were a topic they wanted to tackle through their performance.

“What makes it so unique is these girls grew up in a town where recycling and sustainability was just a way of life,” Saver said, adding that they are intentionally taking this youth-driven performance out of Whistler and into another community, with the dancers acting as ambassadors for Whistler, in hopes that they can spread this information by combining education with entertainment.

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