The 8th Annual Eastside Dance Festival will bring together more than 300 students from 11 schools from the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District. The event was created to foster positive relationships and community among potentially at-risk youth and to provide dance opportunities for underprivileged students in the city of Calgary.
“Eastside Dance Festival has given me and the Dance Team the opportunity to be able to perform on professional stages – an opportunity that we might not have received outside of Dance Team. We are also able to connect with other schools and dancers and get to see the performances that they have put a lot of hard work into,” says CBE student Prianka.
During a two-day workshop series, students take classes from a variety of professionals at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and experience what is its like to be a young professional dancer. Through the workshop series, students build connections and friendships while also making connections with working professional artists and companies including: Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, illFx Entertainment, Free House Dance Plus, Trip The Light and RSVP33. These local companies provide class instruction to students, as well as bursaries and scholarships to some of the most promising dancers, allowing students to continue pursing dance outside of school. This year, a workshop based around Pow Wow dance styles will be offered.
“Being a part of Eastside Dance Festival really helps build relationships with so many people that also love to dance and share the same passion. I have learned and continue to learn so much about dance and performance that I would not have had access to outside of school,” say dance student Tavneet.
From the moment they step into the theatre and working through staging, blocking, technical and dress rehearsals all the way to final performances, students are immersed in the culture of fine and performing arts. This is an opportunity that many students may not be able to experience otherwise.
“When I joined Dance Team I improved my dance skills and made connections that would last forever. What makes it even better is that all of these amazing opportunities are free for us or come at a low cost that makes it affordable for everyone involved. Eastside Dance Festival gives me something to look forward to in my life, I wouldn’t know what I would do without my team and this opportunity to perform,” says Chantelle.
The festival will conclude with performances at the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts on Tuesday, April 30. An esteemed panel of adjudicators will provide feedback on the student work and the most promising dancers will be recognized for their achievements. Tickets are available online at http://arts-tickets.ucalgary.ca/events or at the door the day of event.