Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy year-end show recognizes ‘legacy’ of local dance

The recital will feature ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz and contemporary

Encore Dance Academy will hold its year-end 2023 Spring Recital next weekend, June 3, at Kenai Central High School, when it will also celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Director Tara Phillips said the recital will feature a “wide range” of dance types; ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz and contemporary. In addition to the students at Encore, there will be an appearance by the group’s adult nonprofit organization, Peninsula Artists in Motion.

“There’s a little bit of everything,” she said. “From little bitty 3-year-olds all the way up to adults.”

Though the event is a celebration of 20 years of Encore, Phillips said “it doesn’t really make this show different.” She said like any other year, the goal was to build a foundation with the kids and develop a fun dance to perform.

The end of the year recital, Phillips said, is an opportunity for the kids to “have so much fun and shine on stage and come alive.” She described the group as a tight-knit family, saying that the energy and the supportive attitudes really show, especially backstage during the big show.

Recital is also exciting, Phillips said, because there aren’t many opportunities to get on stage, especially in a setting where each dancer can get involved.

This year’s show doesn’t have a larger overarching theme, she said. That’s because there’s so many different styles of dance set to be shown off.

“I think there’s gonna be ups and downs,” she said. “There’s some really heavy pieces and there’s also some really energetic pieces.”

Though Encore Dance Academy has been around for 20 years, Phillips said that the real history of the program and the studio stretches back farther.

“It’s 20 years, and it blows my mind how fast time goes, but it’s not just 20 years,” she said. “I grew up in this studio.”

Phillips pointed to the late Jean McMaster, who started teaching dance “in the little red building out front here” in the 1960s. Phillips said she’s been dancing in the studio that became Encore since the 1970s and considered it a “second home.”

“She’s the one that opened the door,” she said. “She was my mentor my whole life.”

Shortly after Phillips returned from college, she said McMaster called saying that she had people asking for dance classes. McMaster, then “80-something years old,” told Phillips that she should start teaching dance.

“And so I did,” Phillips said. “We had just the one studio downstairs, and I started really small.”

On Tuesday, Encore Dance Academy was filled with young dancers — one class on their way out the door and another just getting started. Two studio spaces held around a dozen students each, one upstairs and the other downstairs. Phillips said that today there are six dance instructors.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about Jean McMaster and her influence,” Phillips said. “Over 50 years of dance that she started. I am the fortunate one that gets to carry on that legacy … Crossing that 20-year milestone and just continuing.”

Encore Dance Academy’s 20th Anniversary Celebration and 2023 Spring Recital will be held in the Kenai Central High School auditorium on June 3 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door.

For more information about Encore Dance Academy and the Spring Recital, visit “Encore Dance Academy” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy on Tuesday.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy on Tuesday.

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy on Tuesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy on Tuesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy on Tuesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Encore Dance Academy students practice ahead of the 2023 Spring Recital at Encore Dance Academy on Tuesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Calvin Fair, in his element, on Buck Mountain, above Chief Cove on Kodiak Island, in October 1986. His hunting partner and longtime friend Will Troyer captured this image while they were on one of the duo’s annual deer-hunting trips. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
The Road Not Taken: A tribute to my father’s career choice

For the first 40 years of my life, I saw my father professionally as a dentist. Period.

Edward Burke is ordained a transitional deacon by Archbishop Andrew E. Bellisario at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo provided by Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church)
Kenai’s Catholic Church hosts diaconate ordination

The event was attended by roughly 300 people, nearly a dozen priests and deacons and the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau

Rhubarb custard cake is ready to be baked. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rhubarb and running to lift the spirits

Frozen rhubarb just won’t do for this tart and beautiful custard cake, so pick it fresh wherever you can find it

File
Minister’s Message: Prioritizing prayer

I am thankful I can determine to pray about choices and circumstances

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The adventure continues

I rolled into Kenai for what was going to be just a three- to five-year adventure

Little Family photo courtesy of the Soldotna Historical Society
Ira Little poses in the doorway of the cabin he recently completed with the help of his buddy, Marvin Smith, in the winter of 1947-48. The cabin stood on a high bank above the Kenai River in the area that would soon be known as Soldotna.
Bound and Determined: The Smith & Little Story — Part 2

On Dec. 19, 1947, Smith and Little had filed on adjoining homesteads

Most Read