G.S. Lakie tak­ing dance pro­duc­tion to Yates

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - Amanda Michalezki LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

G.S. Lakie Mid­dle School’s Dance Pro­gram will present its ren­di­tion of the mu­si­cal film “The Great­est Show­man” on Wed­nes­day at the Yates Memo­rial Theatre.

Kristi Legge, dance teacher and artis­tic direc­tor of G.S. Lakie Fu­sion dance pro­gram, has been plan­ning the pro­duc­tion since last sum­mer, with re­hearsals that started in Septem­ber. There will be six time slots for the Wed­nes­day pro­duc­tion.

The pro­duc­tion is in­fused with their own dance num­bers and a va­ri­ety of other mu­sic. Their Fu­sion dance pro­gram con­sists of all kinds of dance such as hip-hop, bal­let, con­tem­po­rary and tap.

The mu­si­cal is in­spired by the story of P.T. Bar­num’s cre­ation of the Bar­num & Bai­ley Circus, and the lives of its star at­trac­tions.

Roughly 200 stu­dents will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­duc­tion. It is unique for the stu­dents be­cause it re­quires them to have their own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the piece.

“I loved the mes­sage that the show gave,” said Legge. “I felt like it was in­spir­ing for mid­dle school kids, to be proud of who they are and not feel like they have to be like ev­ery­one else to fit in.”

Legge adds it’s been re­ward­ing for her to see the stu­dents’ re­ac­tion once they get to the Yates for re­hearsals, which they’ve been do­ing since Fri­day.

“It’s very re­ward­ing be­cause of their hard work, build-up, rep­e­ti­tion and try­ing to make sure they’re con­fi­dent with the chore­og­ra­phy.”

It has also been en­joy­able for Legge to see how ex­cited the stu­dents get and to see their self-es­teem grow.

“Prob­a­bly 80 per cent of the kids I’ve worked with have never danced pro­fes­sion­ally in a show be­fore,” said Legge. “It’s re­ally neat to see how re­ward­ing that is for them, to see their self­es­teem grow, and get more con­fi­dence per­form­ing live, es­pe­cially in front of their peers.”

Twin Grade 7 stu­dents Max and Sol Brew­er­ton have en­joyed be­ing part of the pro­duc­tion and the mes­sage of in­di­vid­u­al­ity the story fol­lows.

“We want peo­ple to feel proud of who they are, and not feel like they have to stand in the shad­ows,” said Max.

Sol adds that “We want stu­dents to know that it’s OK to be dif­fer­ent.”

A com­bi­na­tion of mu­sic from the film and some orig­i­nal num­bers from Lakie will be in­cor­po­rated into the show.

Guest dance teach­ers were brought in for the show from Gad­flay, an ur­ban dance com­pany from Toronto, to chore­o­graph a piece from one of their pro­fes­sional shows that toured in Canada and New York.

St. Pa­trick Fine Arts El­e­men­tary School choir will lend their voices for the film’s song “A Mil­lion Dreams.”

The ti­tle of the pro­duc­tion “This Is Me” is also a song from the film which won a Golden Globe for Best Orig­i­nal Song.

Grade 7 stu­dent Tris­tan Bis­sett plays the main char­ac­ter in the show and finds it in­ter­est­ing to be front and cen­tre, along with his own tap solo per­for­mance. Bis­sett plays Hugh Jack­man’s char­ac­ter, P.T. Bar­num, the founder of the Bar­num Circus.

Bis­sett said “The Great­est Show­man” is one of those pro­duc­tions where you can use your own emo­tion, and put it into the show whereas, if it’s a mu­si­cal then you’re play­ing a spe­cific char­ac­ter. He feels if it’s a live show you can be your­self.

“It’s a show that brings to­gether a group of, what would be con­sid­ered strange in­di­vid­u­als, into a show and it kind of ex­presses them­selves and shows their true tal­ents in­stead of be­ing just an­other face in the crowd,” he said.

For show­times and tick­ets call the Yates at (403) 329-SEAT or con­tact Cathy Wid­mer at cathy.wid­mer@lethsd.ab.ca.

Fol­low @Aman­daMicHer­ald on Twit­ter

Her­ald photo by Ian Martens

Grade 7 stu­dent Tris­tan Bis­sett, in char­ac­ter as show­man P.T. Bar­num, slides across the floor as the G.S. Lakie Dance Pro­gram gets set to stage its pro­duc­tion of “This is Me” Wed­nes­day at the Yates Theatre. @IMarten­sHer­ald

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