This weekend, Humboldt was invaded by a horde of youngsters covered in hairspray, glitter and outrageous costumes. That’s right — dancers. Over 1,100 dancers took over the Humboldt Uniplex as they competed in the On Stage Dance Festival. I got to go backstage to get photos of rehearsals. What I found there was chaos, as dancers hauled in hockey-sized bags, mothers applied another coat of lipstick to their little girls’ mouths, right before they went on stage, and instructors organized last-minute rehearsals, yelling in the hopes that their students would hear them over the music. What struck me as I stood there was that beyond the glitter, the makeup, the fake hair and the emotional overloads you saw from the dancers there is definite talent when they take to the floor. The kids of Saskatchewan are pretty darn talented when it comes to dancing. I spoke with a few of the moms who were also watching the rehearsals (women who looked far more tired and stressed than their sons and daughters who were actually dancing in the festival. It may be harder to be a dance mom than it is to be a dancer) and they said the same thing — that it was completely amazing to watch these kids, some of whom are only five years old. We were all blown away that they could remember all the steps, all the arm movements, and all the moves for multiple dances. And that they still remembered to smile while doing them. I was in dance as a kid, and I know I must have been able to remember the routines. I don’t remember screwing up majorly at a recital, anyway. But I know that today, as an adult, I don’t know that I’d be able to retain everything. I had a hard time remembering the moves in a Zumba class I took for about two months, and we did a lot of the same moves, to the same songs, every week. But it’s not just that they remembered the moves that impressed me about these dancers. It’s that they did the moves with style and enthusiasm. They love to dance, and it showed, completely, when they performed a routine — even tap routines rehearsed without tap shoes. You know you’ve got talent when you can sell a tap routine while wearing high-top sneakers or slippers. The confidence they showed — that struck me as well. They were completely at home in their brightly-coloured costumes, wearing wigs and makeup. They owned their look and their actions. Seeing that, especially in the young teenagers, was awesome. Because if they have that much confidence on the dance floor, hopefully it translates to the rest of their lives. Hopefully it means they will be able to make decisions about how they live and what they are going to do with the same amount of resolve and self-awareness. I hope that sense of confidence stays with them, even if the steps of their routine do not.