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Gibsons Dance Centre dancers show off their prize-winning moves

Gibsons Dance Centre has racked up nearly 50 awards and scholarships over three recent festivals – last weekend, they brought their prize-winning talent to a two-night showcase at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse.

A two-night showcase of award-winning dance routines attracted boisterous audiences to the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse on May 18 and 19, as youth and adult dancers demonstrated their exuberant embrace of choreography ranging from hip hop to classical ballet. 

The company of the Gibsons Dance Centre netted nearly 50 awards and scholarships during three recent festivals. Members travelled to the One Dance Festival in Abbotsford only a week before the Gibsons performance. It was preceded by wins at the Star Talent Competition and the Coast Dance Festival in April. 

The Centre is the amalgam of Dance Works Academy and Dominique’s School of Dance, two Gibsons institutions that merged in early 2021. 

“The Nutcracker really brought everyone together in the combined school,” said Dominique Hutchinson, one of the Centre’s instructors, referring to the five-performance run of The Nutcracker ballet that played to sold-out houses in December. “That experience elevated everyone’s level of performance.” 

Eibhlin Minatsis, a Nutcracker veteran in the roles of the Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy, took home honours from all three competitions, including the Top Ballet Award at the Star Talent event. She was also selected to represent the Sunshine Coast at the Provincial Festival of the Performing Arts in June. 

Peter Reznick, chosen as the junior provincial-level festival representative, was another multi-award winner. During the May 19 performance, he performed feats of athletic virtuosity in classical and ballet solos, as well as a mischievous jazz collaboration with Nova Hodgins that earned the duo a Judge’s Choice Award at the Star Talent competition. 

The third dancer selected to travel to the provincial festival was Ella Hoath, who appeared in group ballet numbers amplifying the fervid intensity of Vivalid’s Four Seasons. 

The Vivaldi-infused performances and other ensembles included Caia Minatsis, a recipient of a Coastal Dance Festival scholarship and Aoife Murphy, whose solo work was recognized at the One Dance Competition. 

Another scholarship winner was Isabella Watts, showing her mastery of solo ballet in a sunny piece titled Practice, Practice. 

Nevaeh Power, who was decorated for two distinct solos at the One Dance Competition, demonstrated dextrous footwork in her contemporary ballet number, Internal Dialogue, before returning in Madness, a tempestuous jazz act. Power also appeared in iSolation, a contemporary ballet work. Dancers, with backs turned, pressed cell phones to their ears in an exploration of technological insularity. 

Phone cameras made further cameos throughout the evening, extended from the wings to capture action onstage, which contributed to an atmosphere of festive informality. Buoyant jazz and tap numbers by members of the adult company earned applause at intervals through each performance. An evocative eyebrow raised by tap dancer Gabe Ryan during the infectious rhythms of Clap Snap elicited cheers. 

Hip hop soloists Darrow Purjue and Connor Dixon, both competition winners, laboured to keep rhapsodic smiles from breaking through their obligatory gangsta attitudes. Together with Elizabeth Mani, Dixon reprised the arresting Silk & Sonic number that earned the pair a couple of awards in competition. 

In mid-June, the Gibsons Dance Centre will reappear at the Heritage Playhouse for Seasons, its annual Junior, Intermediate and Senior recital. 

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