Isaiah McAleese and Jessica Kelly show off their winning certificates. (Emily Vance photo)

Qualicum Beach School of Dance speech arts students win big at provincial competition

Jessica Kelly and Isaiah McAleese claim first-place honours

Three speech arts students from the Qualicum Beach School of Dance brought home awards from a competition in Chilliwack last week.

Jessica Kelly, Isaiah McAleese, and Norah Kierulf were the three provincial candidates out of Qualicum. They competed under the category of Speech and Dramatic Arts, at The Performing Arts BC Association of Regional Festivals. Jessica, 15, and Isaiah, 17, took first place in the Senior division for Duologue. They performed a piece from a novel for young adults called The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek.

Jessica also came in as runner-up in the Senior solo division for Monologue, Prose, Poetry, and Sonnet. Norah Kierulf, 14, competed in the Intermediate division for Prose, Poetry, and Monologue. The festival is a five-day event featuring specialized masterclasses, workshops, technique coaching, and adjudications. It’s an annual event that’s hosted in a different BC city every year.

Their teacher, Jennifer Kelly, is thrilled for the success of her students. It’s her second year teaching speech and dramatic arts, and she says she will continue to offer the course next year.

“To get to that level is pretty exceptional, so I’m very proud of them,” said Kelly.

Kelly says speech and dramatic arts it’s an area of performance that most people don’t realize exists on its own. It’s a catch all term for dramatic renditions of performances that includes monologue, poetry, prose, improvisation, duologue, and sight-reading.

“I think it’s something that people don’t fully appreciate,” said Kelly. “The young students who are studying these performing arts are learning skills that they are applying to plays. A lot of them are in Bard to Broadway, or they are doing ECHO players, or performing in Nanaimo. And so these skills of speaking in a performing arts away are helping with their acting skills. And will continue on to help them with public speaking in general.”

Next year’s festival will be held in Cranbrook.

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