The Innovative Dance Arts studio in Parksville will have nine representatives at the 2022 Provincial Festival of Performing Arts BC this June. Seven of the nine dancers were at the studio on Wednesday, April 13, preparing for the provincial competition. From left: Keana Jeffs, 14; Shaylee Gardiner, 14; Brynn Binder, 13; Sianna Drummond, 18; Maria Pettigrew, 14; Aleria Campagnolo, 16; and Grace Amendt, 17. (Mandy Moraes photo)

The Innovative Dance Arts studio in Parksville will have nine representatives at the 2022 Provincial Festival of Performing Arts BC this June. Seven of the nine dancers were at the studio on Wednesday, April 13, preparing for the provincial competition. From left: Keana Jeffs, 14; Shaylee Gardiner, 14; Brynn Binder, 13; Sianna Drummond, 18; Maria Pettigrew, 14; Aleria Campagnolo, 16; and Grace Amendt, 17. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Parksville dance studio qualifies 9 dancers for provincial performing arts festival

Qualifications made through high marks in regional competitions

The Innovative Dance Arts studio in Parksville will have nine young dancers between the ages of 11 and 17 at the 2022 Provincial Festival of Performing Arts BC in June.

Sarah DeVito, owner and director of higher intensive programming, said each dancer qualified for the provincial festival by receiving high marks in either the North Island (held at the end of February) or Mid-Island (held at the beginning of March) regional competitions.

While the regionals were in-person events that dancers attended, the provincials, however, will be held virtually for 2022 between June 5 and June 9.

“Because they were selected from the regional festivals in order to take part in that, they have videos from those festivals. So they’re going to use those videos to submit to provincials,” said Deena DeVito-Carl, owner and director of preschool and lower intensive programming. “They will have classes they have to take over Zoom – which they’ll probably have to do here at the studio.”

DeVito-Carl continued to say most of their dancers that qualified for provincials will be in the modern/contemporary category, with only two of the nine representing for ‘stage’ (tap and jazz).

“In order to even qualify to be considered, they have to do two solos within their genre. So the kids that are going as modern representatives had to do a modern solo and a contemporary,” she said.

Most of the dancers were either first or second place winners in the regional competitions, and had to receive a mark over 85 based on artistic quality and technical ability for both solos.

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Competing at the Provincial Festival of Performing Arts BC this year from the Innovate Dance Arts studio will be: Isla Melanson, 11, for Junior Stage Rep for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Brynn Binder, 13, for Intermediate Stage Rep for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Sianna Drummond, 18, for Senior Stage Rep for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Maria Pettigrew, 14, for Intermediate Stage Alternate for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Shaylee Gardiner, 14, for Intermediate Modern Rep for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Maria Pettigrew, 13, for Intermediate Modern Rep for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Keana Jeffs, 14, for Intermediate Modern Alternate for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; Grace Amendt, 17, for Senior Modern Rep for North Island Festival of Performing Arts; and Aleria Campagnolo-Kasteel, 16 yrs, for Senior Modern Rep for Mid Island Performing Arts Festival.

“We pretty much have had a representative every festival that I can think of,” said DeVito-Carl.

“And generally we have several,” said Sarah DeVito with a chuckle. “Like, I went to provincials when I danced… which was a long time ago.”

“Having nine representatives for a single studio is pretty high,” said DeVito-Carl. “Especially for a small studio. Within our intensive program, which is what these girls come out of, there’s probably 95 or so. The whole school, there’s about 235.”

For at least three of the dancers, 2022 is the first year they have qualified for provincials.

Amendt, who lives in Parksville and attends Ballenas Secondary School, qualified for the provincials through the North Island regional competition, currently takes modern/contemporary, jazz and ballet, to name a few.

“I hope to learn from the different people coming together and seeing all their versions of their dances. And just watching them and learning. That’s my favourite part about going to the competitions,” she said. Post secondary graduation, Amendt hopes to stay involved in the performing arts in some way, either in continued classes or by joining a company.

Pettigrew, who also lives in Parksville and attends Ballenas Secondary School, qualified through the North Island regional competition as well.

“I’m looking for more experience in dance beyond this studio,” she said.

Binder, who lives in Qualicum Beach and attends Kwalikum Secondary School, has attended Innovate Dance Arts since 2015. She takes ballet, modern/contemporary, strengthening and jazz, and also qualified through the North Island regionals.

“I want to boost my confidence – and just watching other people and getting inspiration and meeting new people,” she said. Binder also intends to stick with performing arts post secondary as well.

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