Dancers perform “Rising Tide of Freedom” at the 2019 BVI Children’s Dance Fest over the weekend. (Photo: Provided)

The BVI Dance School sold out a full house at the H. Lavity Stout Community College auditorium on Saturday night during its 19th annual BVI Children’s Dance Fest.

With a 400-seat capacity, school director Sandy Lyons knew the event would have to be extended into a two-day affair to include a second performance on Sunday.

“We normally have this show at Briercliffe Hall,” Ms. Lyons said. “When we have it in there, we pack that place. That’s about 1,200 people.”

Though the attendance wasn’t quite that high this year, organisers were very happy with the turnout anyway.

“I think the audience is never bored; they never have to wait for the next dance,” Ms. Lyons said. “I think the audience appreciates that with so many other programmes that run on for hours and hours, we run a pretty tight show.”

With 20 performances from dancers as young as 4, the show — which included a group of “tots” dancing with their fathers, uncles or brothers — ended in just under two hours both nights.

Irma recovery

After losing two studio locations to Hurricane Irma, the dance school is seeing its numbers crawl back up slowly.

What once held nearly 300 students before Irma is now at about 160 dancers. The show itself included additional dancers from S.T.O.A.N., a hiphop group formerly known as Dub Squad, and from the Cedar International School Elite cheerleading and dance teams.

The Dance Fest began when the school was much smaller, and initially it had to invite other troupes to fill out the show. These days, Ms. Lyons said, the school itself fills up the show.

“We had two beautiful air-conditioned locations, but our Prospect Reef and Sensus Gym locations got completely destroyed,” she added. “We found some space at Save the Seed Energy Centre, which we are now teaching classes out of, and Adagio Dance School in Fish Bay is sharing their space.”

BVI Dance School offers contemporary dance, modern dance, jazz, tap, and hip hop classes. Starting in July, the school will offer a five-week course. Ms. Lyons said she’s excited for it because the school will be trying out some new classes like advanced tap dancing, “tots” acrobatics, and contemporary and lyrical dance for advanced and beginner levels.