Vancouver Island dance school pirouettes into full-fledged education institution

Steps Ahead studio will provide assistance with distance learning, as well as artistic classes

Steps Ahead Dance is looking to provide more than instruction in the arts this fall.

The dance studio, which recently moved from its longtime location at Brentwood College to its own site at Whippletree Junction south of Duncan, is offering a customized year of learning for students in Grades 5-8 who are seeking an enriched arts program.

The program, called Arts Education, Steps Ahead, offers support to middle-school students as they follow their online core curriculum through the South Island Distance Education School, a public, full-service, K-12 school that provides distributed learning courses to all students in the province, or similar programs arranged by each student’s family.

Lorraine Blake, the director of Steps Ahead Dance, said the idea came to her several weeks ago as she watched families facing uncertainty as to how this school year will progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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She said the move to Whippletree Junction allowed the extra space to set up the program, which will have a maximum of eight students that will be socially distanced while at the studio.

“The AESA program is meant for students who are participating in distance learning and they will receive assistance from us with that, plus they will be enriched with performing arts classes, which include dance, art, drama and choreography,” Blake said.

Those in charge of delivering the AESA program at Steps Ahead Dance have the educational background to assist the students, including Blake who was a full-time faculty member at Brentwood College for the past 20 years, Julianna Cross, who is in her third year of an education degree, and Jennifer Kosmenko, who has an extensive background in languages, art history, choreography and dance.

Blake said the students will have the option of attending AESA full time, which will run from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or part time, from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., also Monday through Thursday.

Home schoolers are also welcome, and their program will run from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Full time students will be charged $180 per week plus GST; part timers will pay $80 a week plus GST; and home schoolers will be charged $40 a week plus GST.

“During these challenging times, the health and safety of our faculty and students remain of utmost importance and therefore we are embarking on this new opportunity for students in the Cowichan Valley to participate in a creative, explorative and physically challenging program,” Blake said.

“We were looking to begin the program after Labour Day, but we’re open to start it on any day that is agreed on.”

For more information, go to the studio’s website.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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