SHERIDAN — Five dancers at Pieknik School of Dance traveled to dance programs in Wyoming, Montana and Canada over the summer. The schools gave students the opportunity to train in new styles of dance this summer. Kelly Patterson also moved from San Diego to join the school in September as a teacher specializing in contemporary dance.
Three of the dancers — Victoria Smith, 14, Chloe Schilling, 17 and Carlee McDougall, 15 — traveled to Toronto to attend Canada’s Ballet Jorgen where students danced eight hours a day for 10 days.
The program was ballet-oriented but included jazz and hip-hop instruction as well. Dancers also participated in yoga and pilates classes.
At the conclusion of the program, dancers had the opportunity to perform their own compositions as well as a group number.
“It was very acrobatic and so we did cartwheels and lots of jumps and turns and that was really fun,” McDougall said. “And I really enjoyed it.”
Schilling said she would absolutely return to the school.
“Yes, absolutely it’s so much fun,” she said. “I’m a senior now, so learning what it’s like to like stay in a college dorm and you know, having to get from place to place is a super great experience.”
Smith also attended the Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival at the University of Wyoming in Laramie along with Abby Coonis, 15.
“It was great opportunities, different teachers,” Coonis said. “It was a lot of fresh, new experiences that we don’t get here and it was just a lot of fun.”
Smith said the instructors were tough but nice and that she plans to return next year for her third year in a row. She hopes to travel to Toronto as well.
Isabela Reincke, 13, attended the Montana Dance Center’s summer program for five days.
She took courses in modern, jazz, lyrical, musical theater, ballet and character. Reincke has been dancing for five years and had never traveled to dance before.
Teacher Kelly Patterson joined Pieknik Dance Academy as a teacher in September. Patterson is starting a class at the school in contemporary and will also teach jazz.
She started teaching and choreographing as head of her dance team in high school and decided to pursue dance teaching in college.
“I have a BFA in dance from San Diego State University and I also have a business degree from San Diego State University so it was kind of perfect that we linked up because she was looking for someone to help her at the ballet studio,” Patterson said. “So I moved all the way from San Diego to come help the girls and this is an amazing opportunity for me.”
Christina Davey started Pieknik School of Dance in Sheridan in 2009 and has been teaching and choreographing dance for more than 40 years.
Davey previously owned a dance studio in Reno, Nevada, and taught dance in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in addition to living and dancing in New York and Europe.
The school will have auditions in October for a December production of “The Nutcracker.”