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Talking ‘bout the B.A.D. girls

The Bowen dance squad is getting ready to perform at the SHINE Dance Festival

The Cates Hill Chapel has been buzzing this month as members of the B.A.D. team prepare for an upcoming special event.

The 14 women who make up the Bowen Adult Dance team, along with their professional dancer coach Kelly Konno, are rehearsing for an appearance at the SHINE Dance Festival next month in Burnaby. It will be the first off-island dance routine for the team and, because of COVID restrictions, only their second live performance since forming four years ago.

“We were robbed of our season two, and then our season three had to be filmed inside the studio due to the pandemic. So they haven’t been able to perform live,” explains Konno. Normally the B.A.D. team, along with the rest of Konno’s studio, take part in a summer showcase at BICS.

“It’s cool that we’ve ridden this wave together and now the current restrictions are lifted and we’re all able to come back together in the same room and compete,” says Konno.

It wasn’t this way for much of the pandemic. In fact, many of the moves for the team’s current set of songs was originally taught virtually.

“I set the studio up in a way where they could see me at the front of the room and I would teach them choreography over Zoom,” says Konno. “Then when restrictions would lift a little bit, we were able to do low intensity adult classes. I would have to split the team into two groups of seven so we could be in the studio together… I had to get really creative with the choreography and figure out how I was going to do it.”

“I just taught them all the choreo and then when we were able to be all together, that’s when I knocked out formations and stuff like that. So it’s been a work in progress. They’ve been waiting to perform,” she says.

BAD girls 2
There's always time for some choreography coaching. / Alex Kurial

The team will compete in the ‘Just For Fun’ category in the festival, on April 1 at the Michael J. Fox Theatre. They’ll perform a pair of numbers, the first a combination of Pink’s ‘Walk Me Home’ and ‘Hurts 2B Human’, also by Pink and featuring Khalid.

“It’s all about the craziness of what’s going on in the world and how we need to band together. It still makes sense, even more so today. It carried us through the pandemic. It’s a more emotional song for the ladies to dance to,” explains Konno of the choice.

The second half of the act dials back to the disco era with – appropriate given the team’s name – Donna Summer’s ‘Bad Girls’. A team wardrobe change into classic 1970s style fully completes the shift.

“We were like okay let’s switch it up, and I wanted to do a fast jazz routine, which turned into disco-inspired. Because I just wanted the ladies to have fun, like we’re going out for an evening on the town,” says Konno.

She says the songs provide “completely two different vibes – they can party in one and emote in the other.”

The ‘Just For Fun’ category will have an overall winner, and Konno says there is plenty of competitive spirit in the team. But no matter the result she says she’s most proud of how the group has progressed and persevered over the past four years.

“These are women that just do dance for fun and they’ve all of a sudden turned into pretty decent dancers,” says Konno.

“To pick up choreography and be able to pull off a three minute routine, it’s inspiring to me.”

After the festival, the B.A.D. squad will begin work on a new number in preparation for the summer show - featuring Konno’s entire studio - scheduled for the end of May.