Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 21


Posted Nov. 10

Posted Sept. 12

Posted Sept. 18

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





(Posted 12:30 p.m., Nov. 22)

Local dancers to appear in Jorgen production of The Nutcracker
By Heather Jamieson
The Orléans Star

(Left to right) Angie Di Iori, 10, Madelayne Riendeau, 10, Alyssa Gauthier, 11, Laura Harquail, 8, Keradwyn Thompson, 9, and Maxine Farha, 9. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Shenkman Arts Centre welcomes four new exhibits this month featuring works by Ottawa designer and photographer Bert van der Plas; mixed media artist Maya Hum; ceramic artist Mike Doxey; and a group of Polish born artists who all share a love and passion for fabric art.

Keradwyn Thompson’s first introduc-tion to Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet was a performance of The Nutcracker, A Canadian Tradition by Ballet Jörgen Canada at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

Little did the young Cumberland dancer imagine that only two years later she would share the Harold Shenkman Hall stage with professional Jörgen dancers.

“I am looking forward to being on stage and having my family and friends watch me,” says the nine-year-old, who will be dancing in the role of a chipmunk.

She is one of six area dancers who have been cast, from about 85 who auditioned, to join the respected Canadian dance com-pany in the roles of chipmunks and frogs at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Dec. 14 and 15. Other dancers were cast in the Dec. 17 performances at Centrepointe Theatre.

The young dancers have put in six weeks of intensive Sunday rehearsals at the Nepean Creative Arts Centre in Bells Corners.

The Ballet Jörgen Canada version brings a distinctly Canadian twist to the classic ballet. The story unfolds in Algonquin Park, where Klara’s dream is filled with lumberjacks, Mounties, snowflakes and woodland creatures. The performance integrates works of Canada’s Group of Seven artists to frame the story and give it a truly Canadian context.

The initiative is part of Jörgen’s Nutcracker Youth Education Program, one of its community outreach and educational initiatives designed to give young dancers the opportunity to interact with professional dancers and gain invaluable experience.

“This opportunity to dance with pro-fessionals is an incredible experience for our students,” says Amber Harvie, assistant director of The Cumbrae School of Dancing, which has four dancers in the Shenkman shows. Even for dancers who audition, but are not cast, she says “the audition itself is a learning experience.”

This year was the first time Angie Di Iorio, 10, who takes eight classes a week at Cumbrae, auditioned for any dance performance and she was thrilled to be cast as a chipmunk.

Laura Harquail, 8, and Maxine Farha, 9, are the other Cumbrae students cast in the production, both as frogs.

“It’s challenging to be a frog,” says Laura, “but I like that part of it.” She loves that the rehearsals give her the opportunity to watch all the other dancers in their roles. “When I get home, I like to dance around pretending to do all the different roles.”

Maxine appreciates how much she has learned from the rehearsal process and the experience of dancing with other dancers.

This is Alyssa Gauthier’s second year in the Jörgen production. The 11-year-old trains with the Extrava Danse Academy and “loves every second” of being part of the Jörgen performance.

“They really make the kids feel like part of the cast and give them their moment to shine on stage,” says Alyssa’s mother Kerri-Ann Gauthier.

Madelayne Riendeau, 10, trains at L'École de danse Louise in Rockland. She was nervous about the audition, imagining it would be as intense as those on "So You Think You Can Dance." Happily, it was not and she was overjoyed to be cast as a chipmunk. And she isn't complaining about having to miss a day of school!

"As parents, we think it will be quite an experience for her to be part of a large production like this, with multiple shows on the same say, and to see all the behind the scenes happenings that go into putting on a major production," adds her father Patrick.

For more information and tickets visit www.shenkmanarts.ca.



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