Okanagan Dance Studios is gearing up to present their show group’s production titled In My Life at the Cleland Community Theatre on Nov. 23 and 24.
The performance, choreographed to Beatles cover songs, will feature over 50 dancers from ages 7 to 50-plus. Traci Bourne, Okanagan Dance Studios owner and director, said it is no easy feat bringing this production to life.
“We started getting the choreography set for all the different age groups, and then it was a lot of work piecing it all together to make the storyline come through on stage,” said Bourne.
Both Bourne and her choreographer, Shannon Cote, agree that before they began putting the show together, they wanted to use Beatles music. They both like running this non-profit show group because it’s an opportunity to take a break from competitive dance.
In My Life is an artistic retelling of stories that show the journey of a young girl learning about her grandmother’s life.
“It blurs the lines between past and present and kind of mixes the worlds,” said Cote. “It’s just sort of life stories, and I have some personal connections to some of the ideas but it came together very naturally.”
Because the performance features a broad age range and many dancers, it is not uncommon for the older students to help the younger ones learn their steps.
“It’s really important to be the leaders as seniors, so we’ve really stepped up to know our choreography, know our placing, so we can help the younger dancers and make them feel comfortable so we can all have a great time,” said Grade 12 student Annabella Nordlund, one of the senior dancers in the production.
Overall, both Bourne and Cote are pleased with how the show has come together. They and their crew have been working tirelessly on this project since August, which is a “quick timeline,” Bourne noted.
“The main reason we choose to do this show is to teach our dancers that the competitive world isn’t the real world once they move on, if they want to continue their dance careers,” said Bourne. “This is more ‘real life’ type of work, and the pressure is not there to win or get a gold medal. It’s to put on a really great show.”
Cote and Bourne say the show is for everyone, not just people familiar with dance, because of the story being told.
“It’s going to be very entertaining for all types of people that like all kinds of shows,” said Bourne.
“We want people to understand it’s not a dance recital — that’s different. This is a story that happens to be told through dance movement. But the Beatles cover music is so good just by itself, even if you don’t know anything about dancing the music and lighting will be phenomenal,” said Cote. “And you might even be into dancing after this show.”
Bourne and Cote want to thank the dancers and their parents for their ongoing support. In My Life will be taking the stage at the Cleland Community Theatre on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. and on Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.
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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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