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Art Beat: Gibsons Dance Centre steps up to end bullying

The youth company of the Gibsons Dance Centre depicted the moving effects of fractious relationships in a tour of Sunshine Coast schools on Feb. 22, nationally recognized as Anti-Bullying Day.
Eibhlin Minatsis and Connor Dixon perform a choreographed rebuttal to bullying.

The youth company of the Gibsons Dance Centre depicted the moving effects of fractious relationships in a tour of Sunshine Coast schools on Feb. 22, nationally recognized as Anti-Bullying Day. 

The group performed at five elementary schools: Langdale, Gibsons, Cedar Grove, Roberts Creek, and Davis Bay. 

The tour tradition — interrupted for three years due to COVID restrictions — began in 2015 with numbers choreographed by the studio’s assistant director Zoe Barbaro and instructor Jessie Zentner. This year, senior dancer Eibhlin Minatsis also choreographed portions of the featured duet performed by herself and Connor Dixon. 

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered youth and children going through a really significant struggle in their journey,” Barbaro said, “and dance has been something where they could feel safe and feel like they could get those emotions out without actually having to verbalize them. If you can express how you’re feeling physically in a positive way, it can be very therapeutic and very healing.” 

In interviews with the Coast Reporter, both Minatsis and Dixon said they have experienced and witnessed bullying. Their dance duet, titled Solid Ground, showed the effect of supportive friendships in the midst of challenging circumstances. 

“Our message is to be who you are,” said Minatsis. “You don’t need to worry about impressing other people. If somebody is getting you down, don’t listen to them. There’s always going to be someone else to lift you back up, or you can even lift yourself back up.” 

Dixon has occasionally heard discouraging comments from people who don’t understand the athleticism required of both female and male dancers. Leaning on his dance community is the antidote, he believes. 

“Anti-bullying to me really means coming together and being kind and respectful to each other,” Dixon said. “It’s like acknowledging that our differences are what makes our world so great.”

Call for Coastal Voices 

School District 46 and the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts are looking for budding authors of all ages, from Kindergarten to Grade 12 students. Coastal Voices, an adjudicated anthology of student writing, will be published in June, and the deadline for submissions is March 10. 

Coastal Voices is published annually by Celebration of Authors, Books and Community (CABC), a joint initiative of the Sunshine Coast School District and the Festival of the Written Arts. Volunteer adjudicators receive copies of the submissions and choose what to publish in the anthology, which includes approximately 150 pieces of student writing. 

“It is so great to see how this initiative has been embraced by teachers and students since it started in 2010,” says John Lussier, president of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. “Reading the voices of these young writers and what matters to them is truly inspiring.” 

Kirsten Deasey, district principal for learning, innovation and child care at School District 46, added that Coastal Voices “provides a rare opportunity for the voices of youth to be made visible and celebrated. Their words provide a window into their worlds.” 

All students enrolled in the Sunshine Coast School District are invited to submit up to three pieces of poetry, short stories, personal narrative or essays. Maximum length is 500 words per submission. For more information about Coastal Voices, students can talk to their teachers, or email John Lussier at

Guaranteed Canadian content 

The finale concert of the 2022-2023 Coast Recital Society season will feature Ensemble Made in Canada (EMIC) on Sunday, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. at the Raven’s Cry Theatre. 

EMIC previously performed for the Recital Society in January 2020 as part of a cross-country tour of 14 original Canadian compositions from their album Mosaïque, which won a JUNO award in 2021 for Classical Album of the Year.  

Recital Society President Carolyn Mitchell will host a pre-concert chat onstage with members of the ensemble at 1:30 p.m.  

The members of the group — Elissa Lee, violin, Sheila Jaffe, viola, Trey Lee cello and Philip Chiu, piano — will lead a master class for advanced classical music students while on the Sunshine Coast. 

Sunday afternoon’s concert will include Stewart Goodyear’s Piano Quartet No. 1, Camille Saint-Saën’s Piano Quartet No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 41 and Ernest Chausson Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 30

For tickets, please email or call: 604 885-0991. Tickets are $30; students $10. More information available at

Film Society plans to horse around 

The Sunshine Coast Film Society’s next presentation will tell the story of a young rodeo bronc rider, who, after suffering a near-fatal head injury, undertakes a search to find a new identity and redefine his place in the heartland of America. 

Director Chloé Zhao casts mostly non-actors, giving the film documentary-like verisimilitude. The film was shot on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota (Oglala Sioux) territory with a largely Native American cast. 

The Rider (rated 18+) screens on Monday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse and on Saturday, March 11 at 2 p.m. at the Raven’s Cry Theatre in Sechelt. 

Membership is required to attend screenings. Memberships and tickets can be purchased in cash at the door at both theatres and online in advance at 

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