wenty-two dancers from Parksville’s Innovative Dance Arts school are putting the final touches on their pieces for a performance at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo next week. They have been invited to perform at the non-competitive Dance Odyssey ’15, which IDA co-owner and director Deena DeVito-Carl calls “a celebration of youth dance on Vancouver Island.”
“It’s not about competing,” said IDA’s director of intensive ballet programming Jennifer Quibell. “It’s about the love of dance.”
Sarah DeVito, co-owner and director of intensive jazz and modern at IDA, is also excited for the students to have a “feel-good event” to start of their performance season. “Competition has its place,” she said, adding that Dance Odyssey ’15 will still offer positive learning experiences.
In particular, DeVito-Carl said the performances will gives the students an “opportunity to dance on a professional platform,” which in this case, is the Port Theatre’s stage.
For this year’s festival, IDA is presenting one piece each from their junior and senior intensive dance programs.
“We’re presenting both ends of the spectrum,” said DeVito.
Quibell is working with students in the school’s junior intensive program on a classical ballet piece called Printemps Variation, which has some of Vivaldi’s Four Season as soundtrack. “Unity of the group is key,” she said, adding that she hopes the dance will help add variety to the upcoming performance. “We don’t always get a lot of classical pieces.”
There are 16 dancers in the junior class, all of whom are around 10-12 years old. While they may be some of the younger students at IDA, but DeVito-Carl said they still have four or five years dancing experience each and are currently practicing a minimum of 10 hours a week.
DeVito, on the more advanced side of things, is working with six dancers in the senior intensive program. These student are the most senior in the school and have been dancing seriously for 9-10 years. DeVito-Carl added that the girls in this group are dancing at least 18 hours a week.
“They’re technically more proficient dancers,” said DeVito.
For their contribution, the senior dancers are working on a challenging and edgy contemporary piece titled Implicit Demand for Proof.
Dance Odyssey ’15 is hosted by Dancestreams, the performing company of the Vancouver Island Youth Dance Association. According to the organization’s website, all dance schools in the mid-Island are invited to submit one or two pieces for the event on Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Nanaimo’s Port Theatre. Tickets for Dance Odyssey ’15 are $22, or $17 if purchasing for a group of 10 or more, and are available at 250-754-8550 or porttheatre.com