Ellie Rayner and Nicole Byhre (in no particular order) perform in the duo tap (11 years) category during the 53rd annual Surrey Festival of Dance at the Surrey Arts Centre on Saturday, March 30. The festival runs March 29 to April 29. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

53rd annual

PHOTOS: Thousands of dancers to take to the Surrey Arts Centre stage

Surrey Festival of Dance runs March 29 to April 29

Between six and seven thousand kids will dance across the Surrey Arts Centre’s stage over the next month.

The 53rd annual Surrey Festival of Dance runs March 29 to April 29. The festival is organized by genre of dance with tap and stage running until April 5, ballet runs April 6 to 13, contemporary and modern run April 14 to 18, followed by jazz April 23 to 29, with street dance and hip-hop on April 27.

For a full schedule, visit surreyfestival.com.

Admission rates vary depending on the session and category.

Carol Girardi, Surrey Festival of Dance treasurer, said dancers from throughout the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Interior come out for the annual competition.

“We put between six and seven thousand kids across the stage. It varies because it also incorporates our master classes,” said Girardi, adding that adjudicators with the dancers in the classes.

The age range, Girardi said, is quite wide.

“Last year (the youngest) was four, the oldest was 93. It’s around four this year, and I think the oldest is around 90.”

The majority of dancers, though, are between the ages of four and 20, Girardi said.

The month-long event is volunteer run, Girardi said, with some volunteers coming back year after year, such as Doreene Rowe.

Rowe, who now travels to Surrey from Penticton each year for the festival, was one of the six women who founded the festival in 1966.

“Oh, it’s wonderful. You know what I tell everybody? We’ve got Dancing with the Stars, only a different age,” Rowe said.

Being one of the largest competitions, Girardi said the festival has been able to give back to the dancers through scholarships.

“In the last 21 years, we’ve given $1.5 million back to the kids because that’s what it’s about.”


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