Dancers from Prince Rupert and around the Northwest took part in the two days of workshops. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Dancers from Prince Rupert and around the Northwest took part in the two days of workshops. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Tapping into talent: Spectrum City Dance workshops jazz up the studio

WATCH: Visit by Toronto teachers draws students from across the Northwest

Spectrum City Dance was abuzz last weekend as students from Prince Rupert and across the Northwest were treated to a workshop from a pair of dance professionals from Toronto.

Brian Foley and Bree Wasylenko conducted the workshop, which ran Nov. 16-17. Wasylenko remained for the following week to continue working with local dancers. Foley’s lessons focused on jazz and tap, while Wasylenko brought a contemporary focus to the classes.

Foley is well known in the dance world for, along with his wife Faye, creating Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers, or ADAPT. The dance syllabus is one of the leading ones in the world, and features in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia. Faye often joins Brian on his trips to Prince Rupert, but with the popularity of the program was called away to another workshop.

Foley’s first foray into B.C.’s Northern dance scene was a trip to Smithers around two decades ago. Ella Ferland, the senior instructor at Spectrum, attended the workshops and struck up a friendship with Foley. When the ADAPT classes came to require a larger space, Spectrum’s studio became their new home, where they remain to this day.

Brian Foley spent the weekend instructing students in the proper techniques for quality level tap and jazz performance. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Foley has brought his workshops to the Northwest for two decades now. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“My forte is technique,” Foley explains. “I key in on things the kids should be working on at that level. I also choreograph training combinations in the actual class. I think what most students like about coming to the workshops is that they get a lot of energy and motivation.”

READ MORE: PHOTO GALLERY AND STORY: Spectrum City Dance “cell”ebrates another successful season

Foley may only be in town for two days, but he manages to pack a much longer timeframe into his workshops. He dances onstage with the kids throughout, showing no signs of slowing down as he enters his fifth decade of teaching the ADAPT program.

“The workshops are very high energy workshops, and they’re very high quality,” Foley says. “I really push the kids to work beyond their comfort zone in order to help each one of the children achieve their own personal potential when they come to the workshop. I challenge them to dance above their potential with new techniques and new routines.”

“I think what most students like about coming to the workshops is that they get a lot of energy and motivation.” – Brian Foley (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Brian Foley with his Sunday afternoon tap class. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Recognition of the workshops are high among dancers, evidenced by many of the participants hailing from across the Northwest, including Terrace and Smithers. Renya Brouwer was one of the students who once again travelled from Terrace for the opportunity.

“I’ve come since I was eight,” Brouwer said. “It’s amazing seeing Mr. Foley every year, he makes a connection with us which is great. Mr. Foley always says no excuses, you can always push harder and try your best.”

Foley was joined this year by Bree Wasylenko, a dance choreographer. She focused on group choreography and expression during her sessions, including an emphasis on giving a little extra during a dance to Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”.

Students were urged to be dramatic as they danced to Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Nathania Cam shines during her solo performance. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: WATCH: Ballet Kelowna graces the stage in Prince Rupert

“Getting the dancers outside of their comfort zone and outside of their heads is so important,” Wasylenko explained. “Having that chance to ‘cheese it up’ and go over the top and be silly and be goofy allows them to try new things and explore in ways that they probably wouldn’t otherwise.”

“It’s also just so much fun to watch and feels so good, so I find it’s a good little exercise to do with the dancers to get them to throw it all out there and go for it.”

“It’s about how much passion and individuality each dancer can bring to the routine, and then share with me, their parents, their fellow dancers, and lay it all out on the dance floor and have a great time,” Wasylenko added.

Bree Wasylenko made her first trip to Prince Rupert this year, teaching in the workshops and then staying throughout the week to give choreography lessons. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Both Foley and Wasylenko said they were impressed by the quality of dancers, and instructors, in Prince Rupert.

“The dancers are very committed and work very hard,” Wasylenko said. “They’re really great with detail and they go for it 100 per cent. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing, they’re giving it their all, which you don’t get everywhere.”

Shyla Pedan and Coral Fitzsimmons pose after one of the dance sessions. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“There’s good quality teachers in those towns. I’m proud to say a lot of them come to our ADAPT teachers training school program,” Foley said. Spectrum instructor Alison Sherman is one of those students, returning to her hometown of Prince Rupert after completing Foley’s course for teachers in Toronto.

“I love coming to Prince Rupert, and I’m going to keep coming up as long as I can,” Foley added. “I made a promise to Ella and to Spectrum City and Prince Rupert and the whole Northern area that I’ll keep coming up as long as I can put one foot in front of the other.”

READ MORE: Rupert dancers shine at the B.C Annual Dance Competition


Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

DanceJazz

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over 8000 BC Hydro customers have been affected by the power outage. (BC Hydro outage map)
Power outage affects 8000 BC Hydro customers in Prince Rupert area

BC Hydro has assigned crews to restore power

Josie Pottle rocks out to placing painted rocks by more than 14 different Prince Rupert childcare organization staff and tots for rock gardens around the city to mark May as Childcare Awareness month. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Childcare month is rocking it in Prince Rupert

More than 14 local childcare organizations participated in making rock gardens

Volunteers at the AFFNO drive-in movie theatre night at the Jim Ciccone Centre on May 8, directed traffic and braved the rain before the movies started. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
It was lights, camera, action for AFFNO’s drive-in movie night

Volunteers and moviegoers watched a double feature in both official languages

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal has entered into a one-year agreement with Mitsui & Co. for the majority of its production for supply to the Asian markets, Pembina announced on May 6th. (Photo: Supplied
Prince Rupert Terminal highlighted in Pembina first quarter

Pembina announced one-year agreement with Mitsui & Co. to supply Asian market

Happy Mother’s Day on May 9th.
Millar Time

A mother’s moments

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

Most Read