Peri Donaghy of Portside Academy of Performing arts strides during dress rehearsal for last weekend's Chutzpah! youth dance residency performance in Sointula.

Peri Donaghy of Portside Academy of Performing arts strides during dress rehearsal for last weekend's Chutzpah! youth dance residency performance in Sointula.

Dancers show Chutzpah in Sointula

Last weekend Sointula hosted a renowned dance choreographer to wrap up the two-week Chutzpah! Festival Youth Engagement Dance Residency.

SOINTULA—For a spot somewhat off the proverbial beaten path, Malcolm Island is developing into a serious performing arts hot spot on North Vancouver Island.

Late last summer it was a touring troupe of players from Finland who visited during the Culture Shock seminar to perform their original theatre production, Sointula.

And last weekend the town of Sointula hosted a renowned dance choreographer from New York and members of his dance company in a pair of dance performances to wrap up the two-week Chutzpah! Festival Youth Engagement Dance Residency.

Donald Sales, a veteran of Dance Theatre of Harlem and Ballet BC before going on to become an award-winning choreographer, brought three dancers from his recently formed Project 20 dance company, who worked with local youth in three communities over two weeks before presenting a pair of shows at Sointula’s F.O. Hall Saturday and Sunday.

“This actually marks the first exploration of Project 20,” Sales said when asked about his company’s history working with youth residencies. “This is our first tour, our first youth engagement, our first everything outside of Vancouver. Here in Sointula.”

For that, North Islanders can thank Mary Louise Albert, artistic managing director of the Norman Rothstein Theatre and the international Chutzpah! arts festival. The Vancouver-based Albert happens to have a second home on Malcolm Island.

“I really wanted to bring dance to this community and to the North Island,” Albert said.

The two-week residency included work with young dancers in Alert Bay and with members of Port McNeill-based Portside Academy of Performing Arts. The Project 20 dancers — Rebecca Margolick, Taylor McAuley and Katie Cassady — helped choreograph routines by both Portside Academy dancers and a pair of eager young Sointula residents with no dance experience for display in last weekend’s shows.

The event, which included a Saturday night show and a Sunday matinee, was the kind only found in a community like Sointula. The centrepiece was a half-hour performance of Project 20’s gR33N, choreographed by Sales and performed by the three company dancers, and Margolick performed the solo piece New Demon, choreographed by Sidra Bell of Sidra Bell Dance New York.

Local youth were showcased in dances by Sointula’s Molly Lash-Burrows and Bessy Prevost, and by the Portside Academy quintet of Dawn Briscoe, Estella Collins, Peri Donaghy, Chance McClendon and Aija Nelson.

Also featured were Sointula’s Stage Hogs, with a dance/music/comedy number by Carmen Burrows and Betty Carlson, “sit-down comedy” from Stephanie Rockman and Fred Middleton and a scathing spoof of Coastal Community Credit Union’s CEO and board of directors by Bruce Burrows.

“Mary Louise invited us to do all of this,” Sales said. “If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be here today and wouldn’t have seen this beautiful island and the beautiful people of Alert Bay and Port McNeill. It’s all because of Chutzpah! Festival and Mary Louise.”

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read