In a world where there are many restrictions on what we can and cannot do, it’s refreshing when someone steps up and says, “Yes, you can do that here” — and puts that message in the name of their business.
“No Limits Dance Studio” was established in September of 2013, bringing recreational and competitive dance training to the children of Hope.
Chilliwack resident Carla Bayes has been dancing since the age of four, eventually getting into professional dancing and dance instruction.
In 2013, Bayes saw the opportunity to open a studio in Hope’s Midtown Plaza and she has since grown her registrations to 81 students, for lessons in tap, ballet, jazz and hip-hop.
Due to her work schedule as a psychiatric nurse, Bayes needs help in leading classes and she has employed young up-and-coming dancers to lead many of the groups. “I’m basically owning, directing and organizing — and filling in when I’m needed,” said Bayes, who is a certified instructor through the Canadian Dance Teachers and Dupree Dance Associations.
Liam Mackie is a 15-year-old dancer, training at the Project Dance Studio in Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance in Mission. He and fellow-instructor Delaney Hawks are members of the Canadian hip-hop teams that train in Langley and will be competing in Italy in September.
Mackie teaches nine boys, aged 6 to 12, in his hip hop class at the Hope studio.
“They’re all first-year dancers and they’ve improved so much,” said Mackie. “We train with songs by male artists, such as ‘Party Like a Rock Star’ and I’ve choreographed a one minute, 30 second dance for them.”
The boys will be showing their skills at the studio’s spring recital at Coquihalla Elementary.
Hawks has just finished her first year at UFV, where she hopes to attain a degree in kinesiology. She trains and teaches at the Project Dance Studio in Chilliwack and holds classes and private sessions in Hope as well.
“I cover jazz, hip-hop and solo on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, working with about 20 girls,” said Hawks. “I assisted last year and now I’m teaching this year and doing choreography.”
Lily Ramirez Zuniga brings the Latin beats to the studio on Wednesday evenings, with her Zumba classes.
Special weekend courses are also arranged, with guest instructors coming to Hope for workshops.
In addition to dancing activities, Bayes is promoting the teaching and mentoring aspect of dance, through the studio’s assistant program.
“Our dance assistants are very committed,” said Bayes of Sarah Harrison, Alyssa Goglin and Tahnee Waddle. “These girls are all from Hope and they are working toward their dance degrees. I’m hoping they will become teachers one day, in their home town.”
A group of “dance moms” provide support and supervision when Bayes is away from the studio and she thanked Heather Link, Lilly Duke, Michelle Richardson, Tracey Mayers and Crystal Alexander for their help.
Richardson’s daughter Talia was the studio’s first dancer to take part in a dance competition — and she won second place in beginner hip-hop at the Thunderstruck event in Port Coquitlam on April 12.
Be it recreational or competitive, Bayes said that dance provides more than just fitness, skill and exercise. “There’s self esteem, confidence, friendships and socialization, which are so important for children.”
As well as the Hope recital, Bayes is organizing a year-end recital in Chilliwack on June 13 at the former Chilliwack Arts Theatre, now known as the Chilliwack Victory Church on College Street.
“It’s for family and friends, by invitation only,” said Bayes. “The whole part of becoming a dancer is having a performance in front of an audience — and this venue provides a professional atmosphere for the dancers. The lighting, the stage and the atmosphere further the development of their performance.
All are welcome to see the students perform in Hope on Friday, May 1st, at Coquihalla Elementary gym, at 7 p.m. Admission by cash donation.
For more info on the studio, please visit their site at nolimitsbc.com .