Entertainment

LVR dancers cap off big year

Dancers from LVR (back row from left to right) Danielle Zak, Kelly Westerop, Sabine Stroich, Tia Huttemann, Robyn Lemay, Oksana Maslechko (front row left to right) Allandra Richmond, Lara Von Maydell, Sarah Rolleman, Keri Radcliffe, Aroha Taiatini-Senechal, Chloe Lemay and Saida Mackenzie. -  Madeleine Guenette
Dancers from LVR (back row from left to right) Danielle Zak, Kelly Westerop, Sabine Stroich, Tia Huttemann, Robyn Lemay, Oksana Maslechko (front row left to right) Allandra Richmond, Lara Von Maydell, Sarah Rolleman, Keri Radcliffe, Aroha Taiatini-Senechal, Chloe Lemay and Saida Mackenzie.
— image credit: Madeleine Guenette

Turns out 13 is a lucky number.

On May 30, the 13 high school girls that comprise the LVR Dance Department performed their final show, entitled Movement. The performance capped off a year that has inspired the students and brought them together.

“It’s like having 12 sisters, minus the fighting,” said dancer Keri Radcliffe. Others echoed the sentiment, and said having a chance to get up from their desks and explore their bodies through movement was crucial to their mental well-being. One student said she didn’t feel like she could’ve completed the year without the refuge provided by her dance environment.

Two students, Danii Zak and Lara Von Maydel, performed solo dance pieces during the show. Zak said she was inspired by a YouTube video about a couple preparing for marriage when the man is hit by a car and disabled. She was moved by the fact his partner stayed with him, lived with him, and ultimately went through with the wedding. She tried to capture the essence of that feeling with her piece.

“They still loved each other,” said Zak, who hurriedly choreographed her piece in her bedroom before completely starting fresh the next day.

“Danii’s style is more slow and uses lots of breath,” said Chloe Lemay. “It’s all about completing the movement.” She said she found Zak’s performance, which was accompanied by Sara Bareilles’ Gravity, “calming to watch”.

Von Maydel’s solo was inspired by fear. “I’ve always had a big fear of doing a solo, but I guess I was inspired by these girls and I decided ‘I’ve got to do this’,” she said.

Though she described her dance style as “frantic”, her classmates used words like “delicate” and “graceful”. She performed her piece to a cover version of Let Her Go by Passenger.

Collaboratively, the girls did a piece Allandra Richmond described as “the purple skirt piece”, which was actually called Experience.

“That was the piece where we all felt most connected. The music, the movement, all of it came together,” said Richmond.

Jen MacMillan, the director of LVR Dance’s program, said she tries to foster an atmosphere of acceptance and collaboration rather than competition. She wants her students to create their own pieces and explore their creativity, rather than relying on the work of others.

“These students have really engaged with their own processes,” she said. “I’m so proud of them.”

Sabine Stroich, a Grade 12 student, has been dancing for three years. She said it’s been inspirational to watch her classmates grow into “inspiring young woman”.

“It’s not competitive at all. It’s a very nice environment,” she said.

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