Submitted to The Record
Latin meaning (of a child, plant, or animal) “to thrive”. That is the vision of Haley Toal, artistic director of Comox Valley’s newest dance studio, VIREO School of Performing Arts.
Toal began her dance journey at three years old, training in all styles with Dolyna Ukrainian Dancers, and at Brian Kruse School of Dance. During this time, she became interested in voice and music, taking lessons to develop her skills as a musician/songwriter, while extensively studying teaching and choreography. She quickly developed the passion which is now VIREO. She and her students have won several awards at festivals and competitions in Canada and the United States.
Now, at just 17 years old, Toal has opened VIREO School of Performing Arts to share her passion.
“Thrive has always been a very special concept to me. Thrive doesn’t just mean to do well. It’s more about the growth, the journey, and the passion specific to one individual on their path of becoming their best self. I want children to feel safe and supported in every step in their growth and eventual success.”
She strives to have dance aid in developing well-rounded, passionate, driven and hard working individuals.
VIREO will also encourage a family dynamic.
“My best friends to this day are my former dance mates,” explains Toal. “I was so blessed to be so close to the people I danced with. It really was like a little family.”
Dancers will create a close-knit family within the studio. Parents are encouraged to stay and watch, to get to know each other, and be involved with their children’s activities. There is even a coffee bar for the moms.
VIREO is also built around acceptance and inclusivity. It will be a safe and welcoming place for performing artists of all abilities.
“I have seen groups welcome in dancers with special needs, and I have seen groups not,” Toal exemplifies. “We will be a studio welcoming in and supporting everyone.”
Toal is launching her competitive “Stageteam” program, where a team of dancers will train extensively together in all styles and travel to national and international competitions and conventions. This program is non-audition and will give dancers the opportunity to take their performance and technique to the next level.
The Intro to Stage! program is held in eight-week sessions on Saturday mornings for children ages 3-5 and 6-8. This program is ideal for young dancers to begin the fun and love of dance. For dancers wanting to take a few classes, the recreational program is a fabulous way to take a class in ballet, tap, jazz and more.
They will learn exciting and fun routines, and perform at the year end showcase in June. Adults who wish to participate in fun, laughter filled dance, Monday night offers fabulous Tap and Musical Theatre classes.
Registration and open house Aug. 24-28 and Sept. 3-4 from 4-8 p.m. at the studio or online at vireoschoolofperformingarts.com. We invite you to join the VIREO family and “thrive”.