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Dance marathon promises to be dope

Jennifer Beals probably didn't even dance this much for her 1983 hit movie, Flashdance. The marathon will raise funds to send Yukon breakdancers abroad and to host a breakdancing training camp this summer.

Jennifer Beals probably didn’t even dance this much for her 1983 hit movie, Flashdance.

This Sunday, Yukoners will spend an accumulated 1,200 hours on the dance floor for the Breakdancing Yukon Society’s second annual dance marathon.

The marathon will raise funds to send Yukon breakdancers abroad and to host a breakdancing training camp this summer.

People will lace up their dance shoes to take part in classes going on for eight full hours at the Leaping Feats Creative Danceworks studio.

There’ll be lessons in the New Zealand art of poi (which involves swinging balls), gumbooting, swing dancing, yoga, Bollywood dancing and contemporary dance. Of course, there will also be breakdancing.

“It’s a really exciting day, kids are coming and dancing straight through the day,” said Catherine Poole, the society’s outgoing president.

“It also gives kids a chance to get exposed to dance styles they haven’t looked at previously.”

But it’s not just dancers and kids who will be cutting up the dance floor.

Poole expects plenty of adults, and other dancers who aren’t regularly part of the Leaping Feats dance community to join.

Last year the dance marathon attracted 150 people and raised $8,000.

The society is hoping to attract even more people this year.

They’re also relying on the star power of Luther Brown, of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, to draw people to the marathon.

The Toronto dance judge and choreographer is flying to Whitehorse this weekend to give workshops and run a question-and-answer session with dancers involved in the marathon.

“We wanted someone who can get kids excited and bring people to the event,” said Poole.

Brown has done choreography work for such artists as Janet Jackson, FeFe Dobson, Diddy and Jully Black. He’s also one of the head judges for the World Hip Hop Dance championships held each year in Las Vegas.

Bringing in outside talent boosts interest and enthusiasm for hip hop dance in the Yukon, she said.

And the money raised from the marathon will send dancers to cities like Toronto and Vancouver where they can sharpen their skills.

Until last year, the Yukon didn’t have enough talent to host breakdance competitions.

“The normal way that breakdancing happens is on the street, with people competing in battles,” said Poole.

“The Yukon is isolated and traditionally we haven’t had enough people to do these battles.”

But things are changing and the territory now hosts its own breakdancing battle in the summer.

However, the older, more experienced dancers still need to travel south to find the right level of competition.

Right now there’s about 50 breakdancers taking lessons through Leaping Feats, most of whom are boys.

Shows like So You Think You Can Dance Canada have made the idea of boys dancing cool again, said Poole.

“If it weren’t for that show I’m not sure there would be a willingness on the part of boys to try different styles of dance,” she said.

She’s noticed some of the male breakdancers have started experimenting with other styles of dance, most surprisingly ballroom dancing.

“I’m almost guaranteed some of those boys wouldn’t have signed up if it hadn’t been for their exposure to breakdancing and (shows like So You Think You Can Dance),” she said.

But there has also been more girls in the Yukon getting involved in this style of dance traditionally dominated by men.

“The appeal for boys is that breakdancing is physical and that it’s perhaps a safer way to enter the world of dance,” said Poole.

“Girls on the other hand have more options for getting into other styles of dance.”

Registration for the dance marathon begins Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Dancing begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 6:15 p.m.

The event is open to the public with a minimum entrance pledge of $50 for adults and $40 for kids. Observers pay $2.

Registered dancers are welcome to attend a question and answer session with Luther Brown at 5:15 p.m.

Contact Vivian Belik at