Competitive Dancing Inspires Young Generations to Better their Skills

Teamwork, numerous hours of practice and dedication are required


Reported by Cameron Thomson

For two 14-year-olds, competitive dancing is less about winning and more about inspiration, self-improvement and Twizzlers.

Talia Hoffmann and Eloise Stockton-Thomas have been dancing since they were three years old and are now learning ballet and jazz competitively at Boogaloo Academy in South Vancouver. They will be attending the first competition of the season on Mar. 14 in Burnaby.

Nerves are racked but skills are solid

Hoffmann said competitions help her improve her technique to become a better dancer.

“For me it’s all about being the best you can be, less against the other [competitors] but more about the notes that the adjudicators give you,” she said.

Stockton-Thomas said being up on stage can be nerve-racking but competing can be motivational.

“It makes you want to get inspired more. It gets a little bit tiring,” she said. “Then you go to the competition and you’re like, ‘yes, I want to dance more.’ ”

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Dancers at the Boogaloo Academy

Giving it all for the crew

Anita Perel-Panar, artistic director and co-owner of Boogaloo Academy, said that as well as teaching choreography and technique, they teach the students teamwork.

“It’s about being a crew; it’s about being a team member and a team player. Everything has to happen together,” she said.

The students practice eight hours a week to prepare them for competition. Samantha Presley, a ballet instructor at Boogaloo Academy, said dedication helps dancers compete at their peak performance level.

Repeat, repeat and repeat again

“A lot of it is repetition, because it is one thing to know the steps in your head but it’s another one to be able to do them in your sleep,” Presley said. “With repetition comes stamina.”

But sometimes, a little superstition can help a 14-year-old do their best.

“We always bring Twizzlers to competition as a good luck thing,” Hoffmann said.



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