Scholarships support three promising dancers

Sunshine Coast Dance Society


The Sunshine Coast Dance Society (SCDS) was particularly proud this year when they awarded dance scholarships to three promising dancers.

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SCDS president Diana Robertson said it is thanks to the estate of the late Lois Smith, one of Canada’s distinguished ballerinas, and generous community donors, that they were able to offer these three scholarships, intended to help local students pursue their studies in dance. This year, for the first time, one of the awards was given specifically for ballet.

“That would have made Lois Smith happy,” Robertson said.

Grade 11 student Evangeline Larson, 16, won the $1,000 Lois Smith Award of Excellence in Dance (ballet). She is a student at Dominique’s School of Dance in Gibsons and is looking forward to an exciting dance trip next year.

DSdanse Company, under artistic director Dominique Hutchinson, has been invited to Belgium on a student exchange. A Belgian dance company Cie Ph/f/ase, aged 12 to 16, will visit the Coast in return. It’s timely, since the Belgians will be honouring the 100th anniversary of a major First World War battle next year in which Canada had a significant role.

Evangeline said she would like to continue with ballet, but she wonders how to balance that with her interest in science and math.

Cassidy Rainer won the $500 Dance Society Award for multi-genre dance. At age 18 she is an assistant teacher at Dominique’s and is in training for her full teaching certification.

“I never, ever want to stop dancing,” she said.

Rainer has been dancing since she was two years old and enjoys tap and contemporary, but her training will be in tap and ballet because, as she points out, the rigorous genre of ballet is the basis of dance. She will also be going on the Belgian dance student tour next year.

Kristie Sita is facing a big personal hurdle this year. She earned the $1,500 Multiple Achievement in Dance Award. Kristie is 16 and a student of the Coast Academy of Dance’s pre-professional program that combines intensive dance training with academic high school subjects. Like Rainer, she wants to go for her dance teaching certification and she enjoys contemporary dance the most.

But about one month ago Kristie was enjoying a day in a boat on Ruby Lake when a rope snarled around her hand. She went flying into the water, and the sudden movement ripped off her left hand past the knuckles. She is currently in recovery. It’s too soon to tell, she said, how that will affect her dancing, but she is determined to continue her training and at some point audition for the talented Source Dance Company in Vancouver.

The Dance Society has several dance events planned for September and for the Sechelt Arts Festival in October. See more at

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