It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Moose Jaw-based dance studio, Dance Images by BJ, as they took part in the Cheer Extravaganza on Saturday in Regina during the Grey Cup festivities.
Dance Images was hand-selected by the Canadian Football League (CFL) for this event, which has usually been exclusive to CFL cheer teams. They were one of two dance studios to take part in the extravaganza.
“We felt very honoured to have been asked to be part of the extravaganza,” says Dance Images Assistant Director, Shauna Bzdel.
Bzdel says that all the members of the team relished the opportunity.
“They were able to take part in all the excitement that comes along with the Grey Cup and Grey Cup Festival,” adds Bzdel. “Being in the performer's area, going there and checking in and getting their Grey Cup wristbands and really having that celebrity status while they were there. Until you can actually experience it, no words can prepare them for it.”
The dancers were greeted by over 1,000 fans at the Brandt Centre during their performance and were in the company of over 500 performers.
“Once showtime started and you could start to hear the buzz from the crowd, it truly was one of those moments that I think to start with they were a little overwhelmed and almost shell shocked,” adds Bzdel. “Once they got more climatized it was like oh my gosh this is really happening and they loved every moment of it.”
Dance Images also put together their own personal music mash-up to perform to, but the songs they selected were kept a secret for a surprise at the event.
Other performers at the extravaganza besides each CFL team’s cheer squad were Regina’s Dance City, BOSS Cheer Athletics – Team Desire, Terrance Littletent, Sundown Optimist Baton Group, University of Regina Varsity Dance Team, Zabutnyy Dance Company and the University of Saskatchewan Dance Team.
Another benefit to the competition was for the dancers to see that even after they graduate from the studio there are avenues like the CFL to continue dancing.
“Being able to see that once they have graduated high school and move on to further education, it doesn’t have to stop for them. I think that was a great opportunity for them being able to see other people that have gone on to continue their dancing in more of a professional way while they’re going to university.”
Some of the Dance Express Troop will be graduating after this year and Bzdel was very happy they were able to cap off their Dance Images career with this event.