From bhangra to ballet, inclusive holiday event aims to tap into Surrey’s dance diversity

Holiday dance parade in Surrey’s downtown is inspired by New York City event.

Maggie Quinn

CITY CENTRE — From bhangra to ballet, a holiday event in Surrey’s downtown aims to tap into the dance diversity in the city.

While the Downtown Surrey BIA is behind the event, dubbed Spirit of the Season, special projects intern Amanda Rachmat was the one tasked with creating a signature holiday event.

And they didn’t want the typical Santa Claus parade.

As a dancer herself, Rachmat knew just how much talent Surrey is home to and said it seemed natural to harness it for the event.

“I think a lot of people don’t know that there are dance groups based in Surrey – teenagers and kids who grew up in Surrey – that are now internationally known. I’m hoping this will show them off,” she told the Now.

“And I really hope people understand it’s a multicultural event, it’s not just about Christmas. It’s about everything that’s celebrated during the colder months of the year.”

Rachmat said the parade could probably be filled with high school students alone, considering the quality and size of dance programs in the district.

“When I was training at Queen Elizabeth (Secondary), each dance class would always have multiple genres we are taught. It would always be at least ballet, contemporary, hip-hop and some sort of cultural dance. I remember doing African one year and my school had a bhangra team.”

Showing off that diversity is the goal, she continued.

“Surrey’s multiculturalism is outstanding,” said Rachmat, “and it just so happens that with such a large Indian population, so much of their culture is dance and fine arts, so that’s just a bonus.”

The event is open to amateurs and professional alike, whether it’s a high school dance club, a dance studio, an organized dance team or just a group of kids who like to dance.

“To be a good dancer, you don’t have to start at five,” she said. “You can start at 17, you can start in your 20s, and still excel in dance. That’s why I’m hoping there’s amateurs of all ages.”

The event is inspired by the dance parade held every May in New York City, which showcases more than 75 styles of dance. While 75 may be too ambitious for Surrey’s first iteration, Rachmat hopes the event can grow into one is just as grand as New York’s.

But it’s not all about dance.

Naturally, the BIA plans to incorporate and showcase area businesses.

They’re creating “Spirit Spots” where visitors and locals can pop by businesses to take in activities like face painting or crafts.

Right now, the three-night event is set for Nov 26, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. Stay tuned to Downtownsurreybia.com for updates closer to the event.

The BIA is currently looking for sponsors and dancers. Call 604-580-2321 for more information.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Noted fiddlers bring kids to Surrey stage for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ concert

Bell theatre date for Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as they reunite for 23-city tour of Canada

Surrey-based business donates $1M to hospital’s children centre improvements

Surrey Hospital Foundation kicks off campaign for ‘transformation’ of children’s centre

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s unsung heroes inspire

The Now-Leader was proud to celebrate some deserving unsung heroes in this city on Wednesday night

North Delta family raising money for brain cancer treatment

23-year-old Tashina Janus and her family are raising funds to get her immunotherapy in the U.S.

Surrey opera singer brings Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ to Vancouver stage

Nancy Hasiuk-Lay has been hailed for her ‘sparkling and crystalline vocal tone’

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

Surrey mayor claims he can extend Skytrain for the $1.65 billion already committed to light rail

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Most Read