Richmond Arts Centre to present annual ballet show

I hope people will understand how crucial art is in our community: Miyouki Jego

A little girl goes back in time to peek at her grandmother’s past of becoming a ballerina in a performance hosted by the Richmond Arts Centre.

What’s Inside, the Centre’s third annual ballet show, will be performed by more than 100 dancers from various city-led dance programs. Performers include four-year-old preschoolers to 80-year-old seniors.

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The one-hour show will grace the stage at 5 p.m. on June 17 at Gateway Theatre.

“I hope people will enjoy the performance and be understanding of how crucial art is in our community,” said Miyouki Jego, artistic director of the show.

dance gala
Most of the dancers are amateurs who have practised dancing by being part of the city-led dance programs for people of different ages and dance levels. Photo submitted

Dancers will use their body language to showcase how a girl named Afelia discovers her grandmother’s dancing days by looking through old items and travelling back in time.

Jego said most of the dancers are amateurs who have practised dancing by being part of the city-led dance programs for people of different ages and dance levels. They practised once a week through the years and up to four times a week during rehearsals for the show.

“As dancers, we use art as a way to heal ourselves, to cope with difficulties in life and some people are doing it for stress relief,” said Jego.

Spending a lot of time with youth dancers as the lead instructor, Jego has integrated education into their training program. Periodically, she will take some time out of rehearsals to have someone talk to students on subjects such as how to handle stress within school.

“We spend so much time together and we already have their attention. I’d like to take the chance to do something for them beyond just teaching dance,” she said.

Jego recalled that, at the end of one rehearsal, she spent some time talking to the students about choices — good and bad. She asked them what bad choices they saw around them and they brought up vaping and e-cigarettes, which some students said was “very in.”

“I then brought in a specialist from Richmond Addiction Services Society to educate them about what the devices are and why they are harmful. We integrate it like that,” said Jego.

She and students then converted their inspiration from the conversation into a showcase performance in March titled Choice.

Jego said the demand for city-led dance programs is rising fast but that her classes are restricted due to lack of space. She hopes they can expand their classes to accommodate more dance enthusiasts and shorten the waiting list.

“We want to send the message that art is super important for our community and we hope to welcome everybody,” said Jego.

For information and availability about the City of Richmond’s dance programs, visit Richmond.ca/Culture/Centre/Programs/Dance.htm or call 604-276-4300.

Tickets for the show can be purchased at Tickets.GatewayTheatre.com/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent1525.html

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