The dancers of the Qualicum Beach School of Dance are about to embark upon one of the most exciting events in a younger dancers life … dance festival. At the end of this month, 20 students will be performing and competing against other dancers from the Island at the North Island Festival of Performing Arts, held annually at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay. The young dancers have been working hard to prepare solos and duets in classical ballet, lyrical jazz, tap, modern and contemporary as well as a group performances in hip Hop all of which were choreographed by
Shari Selva and Charlotte Asplin. Most of the senior students have also prepared a lyrical jazz group dance that was performed at Dance Odyssey at the Port Theatre at the beginning of the month.
Selva said in the past when they have participated in the competition, all of their students have gained a score of 80 per cent or higher and placements of first, second or third.
“Although getting placement is wonderful it is not our true reason for participating in festival. We encourage and are proud of each of our students to have gained the confidence and technique it takes to dance in front of their peers and that itself is the true reward of festival,” she admitted.
More than 1,000 performers are expected from around Vancouver Island, bringing together artists of all levels for professional growth and the possibility to go on to provincial championships.
During a dress rehearsal last week, several students from the dance school worked out their jitters and fine tuned their performances in a wide range of dance disciplines that will be adjudicated by Catherine Courage over the next week. Fourteen-year-old Shannelle Spence, who choreographed her own lyrical jazz routine to Adele’s song Set Fire to the Rain, got an enthusiastic response to her dramatic piece from her fellow students. Asplin, who has choreographed many routines, said Spence did an amazing job, adding it was very challenging choreography but came across as effortless. The festival got underway on Feb. 19 and will run until March 4 with dance performances at the Sid Williams Theatre and musical performances at the Old Church Theatre. A special dance gala March 10 will feature the highlights of the festival. All sessions are open to the public for a minimal fee and the money is returned to the performers in a form of bursaries.