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Students from Dogwood Elementary popped and locked during their hip-hop performance at the District Dance Festival on Tuesday.
The Surrey Schools District Dance Festival kicked off Tuesday at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, showcasing the talent of elementary and secondary dance students in the district.
This year's event features more than 50 ensembles from schools across Surrey and White Rock, sharing their passion for creative expression through dance and movement on stage.
"We all have this natural movement when there's music – for some people, it might just be some toe tapping, but it's really hard to be completely still when you hear music," said Tricia Liversidge, arts education helping teacher. "To go from a little bit of movement to some creative movement to some guided movement to the full-blown performance, it's phenomenal."
While normally held later in the spring, the festival was moved up to better manage other district events. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, Liversidge said she hopes this year's performances will give students a chance to cut loose for the first time in a long time.
Lord Tweedmsuir Secondary students put on their own hip-hop dance performance at the District Dance Festival.
"I want festivals to be an opportunity that adds some lightness and focus or goals, as a bit of a celebration," she said.
Liversidge said secondary dance teachers will use their talent and knowledge to judge the kindergarten to Grade 12 competition, noting the judges are just as excited to see students onstage as the kids are.
"It's really exciting to see how passionate the teachers are and how infectious that is," she said. "Our secondary dance teachers are an amazing team, and the opportunities they create for students are amazing."
Liversidge also said the festival presents a unique chance for secondary students to inspire and be role models for their elementary peers.
"I love the connection and the bridge that happens between elementary and secondary," said Liversidge. "If our kids are able to see what's waiting for them at the secondary level, it makes it that much better."
The festival runs March 8-10 at the Bell Performing Arts Centre and is being livestreamed on