Lacroix dancing her way to success through Kiwanis festival

Penticton dancer Cheline Lacroix has laid a path of success with the help of the Kiwanis Festival. This year Penticton will host the provincials. - Photo contributed by Eric Zennstrom
Penticton dancer Cheline Lacroix has laid a path of success with the help of the Kiwanis Festival. This year Penticton will host the provincials.
— image credit: Photo contributed by Eric Zennstrom

Cheline Lacroix has big plans for her future in dance, and participating in the Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival helps her continue on the path to success.

The Grade 12 Princess Margaret student and contemporary dancer is one of the students of music, dance and speech arts who are busy preparing for the 88th annual Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival which will take place from March 5 to April 29.

“It is such an amazing experience learning from different choreographers and meeting people from the dance community. The Kiwanis festival also helps me strive towards a goal of competing and learning while I am there from others. That then helps me towards another goal, which is to get to university,” said Lacroix.

The festival is an opportunity for young performing artists to demonstrate their achievements to their peers and to the community. Performers also will be professionally evaluated in a constructive and positive manner. Last year there were over 1,600 entries from Penticton, Summerland, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Cawston.

For Lacroix, who is applying to prestigious university programs at Ryerson and Concordia for bachelor of science and arts programs majoring in dance performance, this year’s Kiwanis festival is even more special. Penticton will be hosting the provincials this summer which has provided more motivation for the dancer, who already spends 12 to 15 hours at Okanagan Dance Studios during the weekdays.

“That would be such an amazing experience to perform in provincials in my hometown in my last year. I have been in the studio all day every weekend practicing to work towards that. Thinking about having my parents and friends watching me at provincials  has been a huge motivation factor,” said Lacroix. “I think it is a really great thing for Penticton to host because it will really help the younger community and hopefully inspire others to come out and learn to dance.”

Lacroix has been dancing for 14 years and is a regular participant at the Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival. She was selected to attend the Performing Arts B.C. Provincial Festival for three years in a row and last year was one of the top three senior modern dance competitors. She previously has won full scholarships to Gotta Sing Gotta Dance in Vancouver through the festivals. While the three-week course was focused on musicals, Lacroix said she is thankful because it just added one more weapon to her arsenal.

“I had a huge fear of singing, and it was an all-singing program. It definitely tested my limits but I really enjoyed it. After, I was super thankful for the festival providing me that opportunity and it is one more thing that I can add to my list of things I can do,” said Lacroix.

Registration deadlines are nearing for the Kiwanis festival. Those wanting to enter in the piano, choral, classical voice, strings, instrumental or classical guitar disciplines have until Jan. 15 to sign up. Disciplines that take place in the April portion or the festival, including popular, musical theatre, speech arts, classical dance and stage dance, have until Jan. 31 to register.

The festival will open on March 5 with classical voice and choral and follows with junior and senior piano, strings, instrumental and classical guitar. Popular music begins on April 5, followed by classical dance, musical theatre and stage dance. Competitive sessions are open to the public. The program will be available online at the end of February. Two final concerts will be held at the Cleland Theatre with music highlights on May 2 and dance highlights on May 3. Winners of the Penticton festival will continue on to the Performing Arts B.C. Provincial Festival which is being hosted in Penticton in June.

To register for the Penticton festival or for more information visit www.PKMF.org.

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