On Friday, January 18, Guelph Dance's Janet Johnson brought the amazing young dancers from Guelph Youth Dance Company to Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend ‘13, an annual showcase that brings dance artists from around Ontario to Toronto for a weekend of dance. This was the first year DanceWeekend featured youth dancers. Janet’s piece was exciting and complex and the dancers embodied the work beautifully. (Check out the short video embedded at the bottom!)
|Guelph Youth Dance Company performing at Dance Ontario DanceWeekend '13. Photo: Karen Roberts.|
Janet: In all honesty, I couldn't sleep the night before .... I was so excited to show the bright-eyed Guelph Youth Dance Company dancers a bit of the Toronto dance life I once inhabited (I spent 10 years dancing with all of my heart and soul in Toronto before moving to the Guelph area). I was so excited for them to have a rich day of dancing on a beautiful stage, with fantastic, highly professional stage technicians and to be honoured by the Dance Ontario directors and patrons (pretty much a full house of 400!).
Leading them down to the professional, swank dressing rooms and then to the magical warm-up studio felt like little gifts dropping at their feet. My memories of doing the same some 18 years previously.....
We have raised these awesome young dancers from the ground up to be open and interested in performing in lots of different environments (in studios, in parks, church basements, small Southern Ontario theatres). Of this I am proud, but I also feel it’s a realistic situation as dance (and most art forms) needs to constantly find ways to be accessible, innovative and new.
That being said......I felt the rush of bringing my work onto a stellar stage and being able to light the dancers with dramatic lighting, for them to hear the rush of the curtain and understand in a nano-second that the only approach to the day was a highly professional one. They rose right up to the occasion and conducted themselves with utter professionalism and discipline. They also nailed my piece (a super-tricky piece with multiple ways of interpreting the ever-changing timing, negotiating at very fast speeds not only the choreography but the patterns entwining the 12 dancers), and filled their characters with power, passion, and rock steady commitment.
I thank Dance Ontario as well as the beautiful GYD Co. and their ever-supportive parents for this moment in time. And I can only hope that the GYD Co. dancers grew as artists and can periodically pull out and savour this heightened, crystallized moment.
If you want your child to experience dance, don’t miss Guelph Dance’s upcoming March Break Arts Explosion Camp, a fun-filled, pressure-free exploration of the arts. Renowned local and national artists encourage children from 4-13 in all art forms.
Monday, Mar 11 — Friday, Mar 15, 2013 at the River Run Centre
For more information on Guelph Youth Dance, click here.