Dancer lobbies for public studios at Moody middle

Cori Caulfield - Steven Lemay
Cori Caulfield
— image credit: Steven Lemay

A Tri-City middle school that will have an arts focus starting in September will unveil its early plans with the public tonight.

But a well-regarded choreographer hopes the new School of the Arts at Moody middle will include a strong dance component for the students as well as at least three dance studios the community can use.

Cori Caulfield, principal of the Caulfield School of Dance on Spring Street in Port Moody, which serves about 250 families, said she’ll be at Wednesday’s open house to lobby for more public dance opportunities in the “City of the Arts.”

She’s requesting School District 43 team up with the city to find more space for dance — an art form that is booming but continues to be under-served.

Besides the lack of dance training facilities in the Tri-Cities, Caulfield said performing venues are also hard to come by. And when theatres are attached to schools, such as at Heritage Woods or Terry Fox secondaries, it’s tough to find open time. “That’s not acceptable. It’s not really set up for the community,” she said.

Caulfield said dance tends to get the short end of the stick when the arts are programmed. Rather, visual arts and theatre are the first in line.

For example, the Tri-Cities has only one dance studio (at Place des Arts) that isn’t privately owned and operated. Caulfield believes if the region had a public centre with three or four dance studios, they would be running at 100% capacity right away — and at all times, for all age groups and levels.

Trevor Kolkea, Moody middle’s vice principal who will become the new principal in September, said dance is only one element at the School of the Arts. Students will also be immersed in drama, digital arts, media arts, visual arts, music and technical arts — all of which will be integrated into the core learning.

He has spoken with Caulfield as well as with the city and the Port Moody Arts Centre about future plans for the School of the Arts. Partnerships will be formed for the Neighbourhood Learning Centre, which will be in the second phase of the school’s development in 2015.

Kolkea said Moody — of which most of its 730-student population will move to the new Eagle Mountain middle later this year — is already rich in the arts, with more than 80 students currently studying band and 100-plus students involved in the spring musical each year.

• The open house for Moody middle will run on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.



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