Saturday, May 14, 2011

Burnaby Festival of Dance

Until we moved here, I had never had the opportunity to see a public school division (or district - as the lingo here goes) put money into dance.  Sure, I knew of some high schools that had performing arts divisions that had a dance component, but I'm talking about elementary and middle schools with dance specialists, dance studios and the fiscal commitment from the board to make it a priority.  The Burnaby School District is one that values dance as an art form and believes in its value enough to work it into the curriculum in many of the schools across the district.  Confederation Park is one of those schools, and our girls have been fortunate enough to reap the rewards of this commitment to dance.

Mrs. Ishi is the school dance specialist.  She is a little fireball of energy and enthusiasm for dance, and for the kids who she so obviously enjoys.   Aside from dance being worked into the regular cycle, she facilitates "Dance Club" for those who want to do more and perform a piece at the District's annual Festival of Dance.  Dance Club happens early mornings and over some lunch hours.  The only criteria?  Commitment.  No one asks you how many years you've been dancing, which studio you go to, who you've studied under or how much you weigh.  There are no fees for lessons or expensive costumes.  If you want to dance, you dance.  It's that simple.

Mrs. Ishi and the grade 4-7 students have been working for the last many months on choreographing and perfecting a piece for this year's "Burnaby Festival of Dance".  It's a three night event where schools in the district come together to share their students hard work and creativity.  Confederation Park's Dance Club prepared a piece from "The Lion King".  Moms who could, sewed costumes (obviously not me, are you kidding?) and the students were eagerly ready to show off their hard work!

Here is Hannah with some of her friends waiting for their chance to perform.

There were some amazing performances from some of the secondary schools that night.  One was a contemporary piece called "A Bug's Life".  Another was a fusion of jazz and Indian dance by another secondary school.  Amazing color and movement!

Finally, it was Confederation Park's turn to perform!

That flash of dance you see leaping through the air is Hannah!

They did an amazing job!  I loved to watch all of the different ages, shapes, sizes, skin colors and ability levels come together and dance with such joy and enthusiasm.  It was a lovely thing.

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