From left: Ella Horton

Dancers at a Parksville studio headed to provincials

Four dancers are headed to a four-day festival in Fort St. John

Innovate Dance is sending four girls to provincials next week.

Ella Horton, 14, Hannah Richard, 17, Sophie Carl, 16, and Fionnuala Irving, 15, are all heading to Fort St. John for the Performing Arts B.C. Provincial Festival.

Co-owners of the studio Deena DeVito-Carl and Sarah DeVito both said it’s pretty significant to have the girls qualifying for provincials at this level.

To qualify for provincials, dancers need to have two solos within a single genre.

The four modern dancers all started working on their solos in the summer and have been practicing throughout the year and competing in different festivals on the Island.

This will be the first time for provincials for Horton and Richard, who will be attending as an alternate. An alternate is chosen in case a rep can’t attend.

“I wasn’t expecting to go because it’s in Fort St. John and it’s not quite worth it if you’re an alternate,” Richard said. “But then when Sophie got her rep, we were invited to go with her family because our families are close.”

Carl and Irving have both been to provincials before. Carl said she has been an alternate a couple of times, adding that’s she’s gone and observed. Irving said this will be her third year attending provincials, but she said it’s nice to have multiple people representing the studio.

“I’m happy that four of us are going,” Irving said. “When I competed the last two times, I’ve been the only one.”

Since the four girls are going

with modern solos, they will be taking daily modern classes and a ballet class, according to DeVito-Carl. She added the ballet class is to show their versatility.

The dancers are judged not only on their performances during the festival, DeVito-Carl said, but also on their class work. She said their dancers marks from their performances and their classroom assessments decide who the top three candidates are for the festival.

The on the third day, DeVito-Carl said the top three dancers are announced and then they perform in the dance finals. From there, DeVito-Carl added the provincial winner is selected.

DeVito-Carl said adjudicators look at all dancers throughout the province performing two solos within the same genre during competition season. She added that anyone within the age brackets “potentially qualifies.”

“So that’s like a tons of kids,” DeVito-Carl said. She added intermediate level is anyone between the ages of 13 and 15, while senior level is anyone between the ages of 16 and 18.

DeVito said it’s nice for the studio, especially at a local level.

“It just means we’re very well-represented for a small, rural school too have that many children have taken that many spots,” DeVito said. “At a local level, this is a big deal and they worked really hard all year to be able to put stuff on stage that is of a calibre that it would be recognized and take them to the next level.”

DeVito said some of the dancer will go on to have professional careers in the dance world.

“We want to help facilitate these girls going to things like this because it’s so important for their development to be able to be surrounded by people who are all dancing at a high level and see what’s out there,” DeVito said. “Because it’s a B.C. competition, these are people that they will come across again in their lives if they continue dancing.”

Provincials run from May 31 to June 4 in Fort St. John.

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