A showcase of the very best young dancing talent that British Columbia has to offer graced Prince Rupert on Saturday night as Gala Night 2015 took over the Lester Centre.
It was the final act before curtain call to what was an excellent week of dancing during the BC Annual Dance Competition, a yearly session of outstanding performances in all forms of dance – from solo acts to groups, children and teens performed categories of tap, classical ballet, musical theatre, song and dance, jazz, hip-hop, modern/contemporary, acrobatic and everything in between.
Though it was two performers from Port Coquitlam who swept the 2015 junior and senior performers of the year awards – Colby Mackenzie and Nasiv Sall respectively – a number of Prince Rupert-based studios and their members made names for themselves at Saturday’s gala.
Featuring everything from Egyptian pharaohs to Agrabah’s Aladdin and Jasmine to fairy tales’ wooded heroes and menaces like Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, there was a little something for everyone.
Among the groups that showed their stuff were Prince Rupert’s E-Motion and Dance Unlimited, Terrace’s Contemporary Collective, Prince George’s Performers North and Port Coquitlam’s Fab 5.5, though dancers from all over the province took part in the week’s competition.
E-Motion impressed adjudicators Andrea Palmer and Jamie Holmes, garnering second-place showings in the categories Tap Group with “Rendez-vous”, Hip Hop Groups with “Upgrade”, Jazz Groups 12-and-under with “Gold Skies”, Novelty Groups 13-and-up with “Beetlemania”, Modern/Contemporary with “One Eye Open”, Lyrical Group with “Surrender” and Musical Theatre Group with “Aladdin”. They won first-place in Acrobatic Group with “Countdown” and Jazz Groups 13-and-up with “Cinema Italiano”.
Dance Unlimited took home second-place performances in Acrobatic Group with “1234” and Song and Dance Groups with “Walk like an Egyptian”.
Approximately $58,000 was awarded to the week’s winners.
Judy Russell MCed the gala and kept things going with her light and entertaining hosting abilities, while Sylvia Johnson won the Mary Lester Service Award and Cindy Spencer won Volunteer of the Week.
Last year’s performers of the year treated audiences to two solo pieces – “Hopeless Wanderer” by Brett Dobson and “Kindergarden Love Song” by Natalie Smith, who had the crowd in stitches with her erratic, pigtailed juvenile performance. The two also reversed gender roles when they donned garb of the opposite sex in a duet to kick off the second half of the show.
Mackenzie won $1,000 for her new title as junior performer of the year and Sall won $2,000 as senior performer, sponsored by Pacific Northwest LNG and City Furniture and Appliances Ltd.