Dance ensemble harness The Beatles in latest production

After months of practice, the performers of the Okanagan Dance Studio are nearly ready to debut the dance-musical In My Life

Dancers from the Okanagan Dance Studio are preparing a new production

Dancers from the Okanagan Dance Studio are preparing a new production



After months of practice, the performers of the Okanagan Dance Studio are nearly ready to debut the dance-musical In My Life, which blends a story of hope with the magic of The Beatles.

The performance will be choreographed to the music of The Beatles, although each Beatles song will be performed by a different cover artist (with exception to one original).

“They have such a great message in their music so it was easy to create the story around it,” said choreographer Traci Bourne. “And there are so many great covers of Beatles songs.”

In My Life explores a young girl named Anne who discovers the vibrant life her grandma lived, though it isn’t realized until after her grandma’s death when Anna stumbled upon her old possessions.

“As she goes through these memories it becomes a very positive and uplifting message,” Bourne said. “It’s a show that has many emotions. It starts off kind of sad, and by the end I’d be surprised if everyone is still sitting in their seat and not standing up and dancing because it’s so uplifting.”

The range of dance styles featured in the show will include tap, ballet, contemporary, jazz and lyrical, Bourne said.

“The eight-year-old tap dancers are real crowd pleasers, and our senior dancers are very accomplished. I think people will be very surprised by the level and caliber that they have.”

The lead role, Anna, is played by Annabella Nordlund, who Bourne said has been part of the Okanagan Dance Studio since she was a little girl, and has been recognized on many occasions by the Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival.

“She’s also a very accomplished actress. We just decided that she would be the perfect fit to play Anna.”

Taking on another major role is Nicola Hopley, a soloist whose performance will embody the passion of the grandma near the end of her life.

The team is excited to offer the production at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver, which is “very high tech in its lighting capabilities,” and the concert lighting will be co-ordinated by Dave Mai.

The show is around 90 minutes in duration and will feature more than 40 dancers between the ages of eight and 17 who have been practicing regularly since the end of August. Performers are part of the studio’s ‘show group,’ which consists of “the kids who are very serious about their dancing and put in about six to eight hours of practice each week.”

The script was written by Shannon Cote, who’s also a choreographer and director of the show. Also choreographing is Cheryl Blumpke.

Performances take place on Nov. 27 and 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and can be purchased through the Okanagan Dance Studio in Penticton or the Beyond Bliss Spa Boutique in Oliver.