A community project envisioned by Rebecca McLane has allowed dancers to perform safely during the pandemic.
McLane, dance instructor for the Qualicum Beach School of Dance, first came up with the idea when she saw something similar online.
“I felt, why couldn’t we offer this platform for our young dancers in the community?”
On Oct. 11, the community project she imagined, in collaboration with Innocent Thunder Photography and poet Susan Pederson, was uploaded to YouTube. The video, titled ‘Our Hearts Dance’ showed two of the three filming locations in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, and featured several dancers local to the area.
Taryn Pickard, videographer for Our Hearts Dance and owner of Innocent Thunder Photography, helped scout locations and develop the concept. The three shooting locations had been at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, the Qualicum Beach Train Station and McIvor Lake in Campbell River.
One of the performers, Jessica Kelly, knew McLane through the Qualicum Beach School of Dance and was excited to hear about her idea.
“It just sounded so cool and was something to do,” she said.
According to Kelly, the Qualicum Beach School of Dance was closed from March to August due to pandemic restrictions.
As the director and choreographer, McLane sent each of the dancers the movements she wanted them to learn independently, then followed up with a brief Zoom meeting to make sure everyone knew their part. She said the dancers had the “highest responsibility” of knowing the choreography when they arrived on location.
“We didn’t have time to keep going over it,” she said, as the entire video was shot in just 12 hours, and the dance groups did not come together physically until the day of shooting.
Kelly described the experience as “new but not unwelcomed.”
“It was really cool, and the first time I’d done anything like that.”
Part of the collaboration included some of the dancers improvising their own movements into certain aspects of the choreography, as McLane wanted “to allow the artists to create something together.”
Pickard said they plan on doing another similar video for November, which should be released before Christmas. Though she’s uncertain if it will involve the exact same dancers or music, but will have the same concept as the Our Hearts Dance project.