The Urbandale Arts Centre was filled to the brim on Sunday, June 2 at the final performance of Don Quixote, presented by The Academy of Expressive Dance.
Dancers of all ages played a part in the performance which included many forms of dance including traditional ballet, jazz and tap. The costumes and set were of professional caliber which helped transport the audience to the small town in Spain where the ballet is set. Spanish gowns twirled as the more advanced performers showcased their skill on stage. The main character, Kitri, was played by Katie Neale who stole the show with her grace, poise and obvious talent. Her love interest, Basilio, played by Justus Van Noppen was a great supporting dancer, especially at the end of the performance when the pair performed a gorgeous duet that captivated the audience and earned them roaring applause.
Although there were many talented dancers on stage throughout the performance, what made it really special was the involvement of every dancer at the studio, from pre-school age to adult. Teachers led the youngest performers as they twirled around the stage as little chickens and pre-ballet students performed a group dance as cats. There were also adult dancers who performed a ballet/jazz routine called Senoritas Tango close to the end of the performance.
You could tell what a labour of love the performance was at the end of the show when many of the dancers broke into tears. There was a particularly touching farewell to three of the most senior students who are leaving the Academy this year. Two of them had been dancing at the Academy of Expressive Dance for over a decade. “We all wish Rebecca, Jamie and Erica the very best in all of their future endeavours,” wrote Artistic Director Andrea Gaw-Prekob in the program. “I know each one of them will be successful in whatever path they choose!”
The Academy of Expressive Dance was founded in 1991 by Andrea and has influenced over 3000 youth in the community over the past 28 years. Their slogan is “Where everyBODY sparkles” and if last Sunday’s performance is any indication it can’t be truer. It was a great performance and an excellent example of how powerful the arts can be in creating a strong, vibrant and loving community that bolsters its members and helps create confident and thriving children, youth and adults.