Young dancers share their hard work with community

Every winter and spring, upwards of 50 dancers share their craft with friends and family in performances on the Orcas Center main stage.

Instructor Stephanie Moss organizes the concert, which features students ages three to adult who participate in the center’s weekly dance classes that are led by her, Tiffany Loney and Katie Zwilling. The classes cover ballet, modern and tap with additional elements like hip hop and African. A holiday performance that honored traditions from around the world was held on Dec. 17 with musical guests Turtleback Brass.

“It’s so the students have something to look forward to and to show they’ve progressed and grown,” said Moss, who has been a dance instructor for 30 years.” “It’s an opportunity for them to share what they’ve been learning. It’s more exciting to share the joy of dance with the community than to dance by yourself. It’s giving and receiving the gift of art.”

Moss and her family moved to Orcas in the summer of 2015, and she immediately began offering classes through Orcas Park and Rec. Her programs are in the Odd Fellows Hall and the Orcas Center dance warehouse, which is still in need of heating and plumbing. To donate, email dimitri@orcascenter.org.

Many of the students take three to four classes a week. Their first performance was at the Grange in the spring of 2017.

“We quickly outgrew that so then we moved to the Seaview and then we went to Orcas Center and are in our fifth performance,” she said.

They don’t advertise the concerts because they always fill up with parents and friends of the dancers. This spring Moss plans to add performance dates so that more of the community can experience the offerings.

“We’ve gotten to a place where the kids have learned quite a bit and are performing more and technically getting stronger,” Moss said. “I think it’s critical to being healthy human beings to have art in our lives.”