The Masset Dance Troupe had been practicing for months to perform at the British Columbia Annual Dance Competition in Prince Rupert when COVID-19 cancelled their plans.
Lucky for the young dancers, troupe teacher Alison Keery has an interest in staging performances in non-traditional places to make them more accessible.
Rather than letting the solo, duo and group performances the girls had been practicing since March go to waste, the troupe decided to rework them into an outdoor performance titled “A Mid Summer Day’s Dream.”
On July 4 and 5, they invited family and friends to the Ruth Stewart Burton Park for the site-specific, contemporary “fair folk dance.”
“It is mid-summer and the Fairy Queen and her courtiers are in high spirits as the celebrations begin,” the program for the dance reads. “The queen lures unsuspecting humans into her garden where the fair folk play tricks and take turns to perform dances celebrating their unique fairy traits.”
The Fairy Queen (Keery) started the celebration around 4 p.m., leading audience members inside the park. There amid the trees, set to music played by a portable device, they enjoyed choreographed solos by fairy courtiers the Butterfly (Sofia Cerqueira-Pages), Baby Dragon (Geneva Thompson), Cheeky Elf (Layla Reynolds) and Sleep Spirit (Freya Murphy).
Audience members then promenaded down to the beach where they happened upon the Gullabander (Trinity Nickle) and Treasure Fairy (Maya Sanmiya), as well as the West Wind Sprite (Zephyr Hepburn).
After audience members climbed up a hill, the show culminated back in the park with a structured improvisation and participatory, mid-summer celebration.
Keery, a native of Prince George who moved here from Toronto, told the Observer it had been “a real joy” working with the girls and she looks forward to teaching more classes on the island in the future.
“The thing about children on Haida Gwaii is they … have more freedom for exploration, self-discovery,” she said. “Because of that, at 10 years old, they already have quite strong artistic voices.
“I’m feeling very inspired working with them.”
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