Organizers at the Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival got some very welcome news over the weekend, that they were going to be able to bring their final Dance Highlights show back to some familiar territory.
Historically, the show took place in Cleland Theatre, but with the closure of the Community Centre for reconstruction, that venue was unavailable last year and this year. However, festival organizers recently got word that it would be available for the 2011 show.
“It is going to be the very first show at the newly reopened venue,” said Karen McPherson, one of the festival directors. The group had the choice, she said, of staying at the Trade and Convention Centre, where they had expected to hold the show, or to make use of Cleland Theatre.
“Given that we are that familiar with the Cleland, we were quite happy to jump at the chance,” said McPherson. “Basically, it’s more familiar for us. That is where we’ve always had the festival. Unless there has been major changes, which I don’t think there were in the Cleland, it’s just back to home base. “
Counting groups and solo presentations, McPherson estimates upwards of 500 performers will be taking part in the final show. The acts are not necessarily the winning ones but ones selected by the adjudicator for the final show, drawn from the classical and stage dance portions of the competition.
Some of the acts will be group, others solo and represent the gamut from ballet to hip hop.
“You name it, all varieties. It’s my favourite show of the year,” said McPherson.
Though it is late in the planning process, McPherson expects the change back to Cleland to go smoothly.
“It should be pretty easy and straightforward for us to run, whereas, over at the trade and convention centre, you’re trying to piecemeal things together – it’s not really a stage environment there,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have it back at the Cleland.”
McPherson explained that holding the show at Cleland will mean a better performance, both from the audience and performer points-of-view.
“When you are in flat seating, anyone who is short — like myself — it’s hard to see,” she said. “It is much nicer to look down from up above, than to look up. You get the overview of all the different line changes and so on.”
And the dancers will benefit from a better stage surface according to McPherson.
“There is definitely more spring to it. And the ballet floor, a special floor, gets laid down for the first half of the show,” she said, adding that the ballet floor had been taken to the convention centre, but there were difficulties matching it up with the stage there.
“If you do go off of it there when you are in point shoes, it’s pretty slippery,” said McPherson. “It’s much easier for the dancers as far as slippage and wear and tear on their feet.”
The Dance Highlights show, now at the Cleland Theatre, takes place on May 7 at 7 p.m. The Music and Speech Arts Highlights show proceeds as scheduled on April 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Penticton Alliance Church. Tickets for both shows are $8 and are available at festival venues and at the door.