For the past two years, Family Channel and Disney have joined to bring a summer touring production to fans of their programming called “Family Channel’s Big Ticket Summer Concert.” The tour brings a variety of entertainers including dancers and singers to audiences across Canada. Among the shows represented on this tour is the Frank van Keeken creation “The Next Step”, about a group of young dancers. One of the lead actresses of “The Next Step” is Briar Nolet. The TV program presents the lives and challenges of these young dancers but the tour is all out, non-stop, high energy dancing. Briar and her fellow cast members perform a dizzying array of “dance meets acrobatics” as their contribution to this tour which also includes artists like Daya and Shane Harte, as well as cast members of the Family Channel show “Backstage.” For two to three weeks each summer, fans delight to Nolet and her fellow artists’ amazing performances across the country.
Briar and the other dancer/cast members of “The Next Step” were the constant thread of both these summer tours. The immensely successful TV program has created a demand for their live performances that has led to world tours including Europe, Australia, etc. Canada is the show’s home base and there are likely no fans more ardent for the show and its stars than there. Reciprocating this affinity, Nolet states, “My favorite night of the 2015 tour would have to be the Toronto show because it was at one of the largest Toronto outdoor stadiums and the amount of energy that was brought by the fans that day was unbelievable. I would have to say the same for the 2016 tour, the Toronto show is always such an unforgettable experience.”
As the tour headliners, Briar and her costars (including: Brittany Raymond, Jordan Clark, Myles Erlick, Trevor Tordjman, Lamar Johnson, Shelby Bain, Alex Chaves, and Isaiah Peck) perform a set of constant motion. This can only truly be appreciated by witnessing it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1t4jSkzrPg ). In what might be described as cross fit meets dance meets the Olympics, Nolet and company push themselves to perform mesmerizing and sometimes frightening moves, all to the screams and delight of an arena full of fans.
The performances of the live summer tour are very similar to those found in the TV series “The Next Step” and their preparation is not much different for these professional actor/dancers. Nolet confirms, “It is very similar as you are still always performing for individuals and giving it your all. The only difference is that they can edit on camera if you mess up where live they see whatever you show them, then and there. However, growing up as a competition dancer, I love being live on stage.” There’s an additional factor that affects the tour though, which Briar credits to those not involved in the TV show. She continues, “When performing live for fans, you always get that little extra push because the energy they are feeding you is incredible. Performing live can be exhausting, especially on tours because you are performing around ten numbers every show and sometimes twice per day. Live shows produce more adrenaline as you have a crowd watching and cheering you on; it makes you that much more excited to get out there and do what you love to do. I am a very energetic person. I get so pumped up before I go on stage and it continues when I’m out there. I do have to stay focused on the dances and what I’m doing but I find a balance between both.”
If you watch Briar Nolet at this event she exhibits what can best be described as remarkable talent coupled with the enthusiasm and determination of youth. These are the specific qualities that have made her a star on “The Next Generation” and led her from peripheral character to becoming one of the leads of this popular production. For an actress and dancer so young, it is with gleeful anticipation that the possibilities ahead of her are considered.