Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Moving into magic

Diamond Dance Project all-studio concert puts original spin on familiar stories

All the dancers of Diamond Dance Project will come together on stage in the Soldotna High School auditorium next weekend for this year’s all-studio concert, titled “Night of Wonders.” The show will run on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

Owners and directors Jessie and Crystal Soyangco said Thursday that the show represents the culmination of months of work at the studio, a stage show spectacle with costumes, sets and dancing. This year’s theme, “Night of Wonders,” is rooted in stories like “Arabian Nights” or “Aladdin.”

Jessie said that each year they try to take familiar stories and ideas, but then put their original spin on them.

“Originality will always prevail,” he said. “That does not mean you can’t take inspiration from things around you.”

On stage during the show will be both the studio’s competitive and recreational dancers — Jessie said it’s an opportunity for the whole studio to dance together. On display will be all of the styles they teach: hula, jazz, ballet, hip hop and others.

Crystal described a shift she sees in the dancers moving from the studio to the stage — a different energy that fills them when the costumes, hair and makeup go on.

“I love to see that, it helps build their confidence,” she said.

Jessie said there will be elements of storytelling, a narrative conveyed through the dancing that gets at the heart of the themes of the source material.

“To me, the moral of the story is to be who you are,” he said. “Have the confidence to be OK with who you are so you can shine.”

Work on the show starts close to the beginning of the season, Crystal said, just as soon as the theme is developed. Dancers at the studio have been working on the routines since around October.

The competitive dancers have an additional challenge in that they’re also developing and learning other routines at the same time, Crystal said. On Thursday, that group had just returned from competition, she said, and now have to “juggle” and switch gears into the all-studio performance.

“It’s difficult, but it’s fun,” Jessie said. “It takes a lot of time and effort to put something like this together, especially with the (recreation) kids — we have a lot of them that this is their first time on stage.”

He said that was “the magical part” of the all-studio concert, seeing the seasoned dancers get the opportunity to work alongside and mentor those who are newer through such an experience.

Only a week away from the premiere, Jessie said he was excited to share what the studio is working on with the wider community, especially other artists.

Crystal said the studio is working hard to put on a spectacle and give attendees something that will stick with them. Looking at the sets, the costumes, the routines and the dancers, she said they can put on a show that some might not realize is possible in a small town.

“I like being able to give that experience to people that live out here,” she said.

“Night of Wonders,” Diamond Dance Project’s annual all-studio concert, will run Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $12 via a link on their Facebook page at “Diamond Dance Project” or at the door for $15.

For more information, visit ddpsquad.com.

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

Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Dancers rehearse a hula routine at Diamond Dance Project near Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: How to grow old and not waste your life

At its core, the Bible speaks a great deal about the time allotted for one’s life

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson appear in “Civil War.” (Promotional photo courtesy A24)
Review: An unexpected battle for empathy in ‘Civil War’

Garland’s new film comments on political and personal divisions through a unique lens of conflict on American soil

What are almost certainly members of the Grönroos family pose in front of their Anchor Point home in this undated photograph courtesy of William Wade Carroll. The cabin was built in about 1903-04 just north of the mouth of the Anchor River.
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story— Part 2

The five-member Grönroos family immigrated from Finland to Alaska in 1903 and 1904

Aurora Bukac is Alice in a rehearsal of Seward High School Theatre Collective’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward in ‘Wonderland’

Seward High School Theatre Collective celebrates resurgence of theater on Eastern Kenai Peninsula

These poppy seed muffins are enhanced with the flavor of almonds. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
The smell of almonds and early mornings

These almond poppy seed muffins are quick and easy to make and great for early mornings

Bill Holt tells a fishing tale at Odie’s Deli on Friday, June 2, 2017 in Soldotna, Alaska. Holt was among the seven storytellers in the latest session of True Tales Told Live, an occasional storytelling event co-founded by Pegge Erkeneff, Jenny Nyman, and Kaitlin Vadla. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion file)
Storytelling series returns with tales about ‘making the most of it’

The next True Tales, Told Live will be held Friday, April 12 at The Goods Sustainable Grocery starting at 6:30 p.m.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes they come back

This following historical incident resurfaced during dinner last week when we were matching, “Hey, do you remember when…?” gotchas

Art by Soldotna High School student Emily Day is displayed as part of the 33rd Annual Visual Feast at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Creating art and artists

Exhibition showcases student talent and local art programs

The Canadian steamship Princess Victoria collided with an American vessel, the S.S. Admiral Sampson, which sank quickly in Puget Sound in August 1914. (Otto T. Frasch photo, copyright by David C. Chapman, “O.T. Frasch, Seattle” webpage)
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story — Part 1

The Grönroos family settled just north of the mouth of the Anchor River

Most Read