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Stephen “tWitch” Boss’ remembered as bright light during Grande Prairie visit

The Grande Prairie dance community is remembering Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss and the impact he made on young dancers in the region following news of his death Tuesday. In 2017, the Ellen Show DJ/Producer and So You Think You Can Dance alumnus came to Grande Prairie as a guest of The Academy Grande Prairie, along with fellow SYTYCD performer Neptune.

Dance Director/Choreographer Carrie Robins says the time tWitch spent in the community was a bit of magic.

“Over the past couple of days all the posts that have been coming up continuing to describe him as this bright light. I can attest to it because he was that in our community,” Robins says. “He made us all feel like he was as grateful to be here as we were to have him here with us.”

During his time in Grande Prairie, he taught several hip-hop master classes to Academy dancers and dancers from the greater Grande Prairie community. He was also the keynote speaker for a gala event.

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“He shared his story about persevering and just was inspirational to all of us to hear what he had done in his dance career, and was able to have this really magnificent career from really humble beginnings,” explains Robins. “So it was just all-encompassing and a really wonderful weekend.”

During his visit, tWitch told that he enjoyed travelling to smaller communities like this one.

“The art form of dance and the community of dance has given me so much in the direction of my life,” tWitch said. “It would be ridiculously selfish of me not to come back and do something like this.”

Robins says throughout the weekend the dancer met every person he talked to with a smile, signed every autograph, and never turned anyone away. She thinks having him come to Grande Prairie opened up a whole new world of dance.

“Hey, this guy who has a famous career in Los Angeles and all over the world is standing here in the city, and I think for kids in northern Alberta that is really important sometimes because it opens the door of ,’Hey! This is what a dance career could be.”

It’s reported the 40-year-old dancer’s death was ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. Robins says it is a reminder to have conversations about mental health and not take for granted the fact we don’t always know what someone is struggling with on the inside. She believes the dance world has a reputation of being a safe and accepting space for youth.

“I actually saw a quote from tWitch saying, sometimes he doesn’t have the words to be able to express how he’s feeling, but that dance was a place that he 100 per cent of the time could express how he was feeling,” Robins says. “So I think at this moment in our time is a reminder to let dance continue to be that and also to not forget to open up the door and the conversations.”

She adds that, as an educator working with youth, it is a reminder to ask questions and always establish an understanding that it is okay to talk about whatever is going on, that there is help and support out there, and whatever is being felt at that point in time is a valid feeling.

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