By Kuhl, Nick on October 5, 2018.
Communications Officer, Lethbridge School District 51
G.S. Lakie and Lethbridge Collegiate Institute dance students are experiencing a rare opportunity this week to learn from two of Canada’s leading dance professionals.
Apolonia Velasquez and Ofilio Sinbadinho, founders of Gadfly Dance Company, are in Lethbridge this week working with the middle and high school students for a series of workshops.
“I’ve known Gadfly for quite a while from my time dancing in Toronto,” said Geordan Olson, dance educator and director at the LCI Arts Academy Dance. “I am big fans of theirs.”
The Gadfly duo came all the way from Toronto for a week of workshops, as Olson added students have learned so much in a short time.
“Gadfly are true dance artists. Dance and movement is their art form and the way they teach it, form it and create from it, are like no one else I’ve ever seen,” said Olson. “Just to be in their presence to watch them move and work in a creative process with them is a truly beneficial for the Lakie and LCI students. The amount of new information that they are getting is unbelievable.”
Velasquez and Sinbadinho are not only teaching workshop classes, but are also creating choreography for both schools for upcoming dance shows.
“The piece is being created in the next three days and will be performed at our academy spring showcase at the end of March at the Yates,” said Olson.
According to Lakie dance teacher Kristi Legge, all 170 of the school’s dance performance students have been involved in the workshops. She added the opportunity to collaborate with LCI on the project was something Lakie could not pass up.
“I just think it is really important to bring in new professional dancers and choreographers in order to inspire students and give them a new perspective.”
Sinbadinho was impressed with the talent students displayed, which allowed the Gadfly duo to step things up a notch.
“We were surprised the first day and the first five minutes. We were trying to get a feel for them, how they are and what their level is,” said Sinbadinho. “We changed our plan and gave them a piece that was more intricate. It’s a piece from our company, so professionals are performing it across Canada and in New York. It’s just a little chunk of something that is going to push them and try and give them something that is not just entertainment, but requires character, creativity and imagination.”
Velasquez added students at both schools have worked hard to master some new techniques in a very short time.
“We are only here for a few days, so everything feels very fast, specifically for them more than us. They have to be alert and absorb all the material, then they’ll get to practise and perform it.”
The workshops began Monday and wrap up today for students at both schools.
Velasquez and Sinbadinho are certainly no strangers to the dance business, and have worked for artists such as Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Kiesza, Nelly Furtado, Feist, Cascada, Down With Webster, Serena Ryder, Anjulie, Massari, Danny Fernandes, Jully Black, Eva Avila and Shawn Desman.
Movie credits include “Turn the Beat Around,” “Camp Rock II” (featuring The Jonas Brothers), “You Got Served II/Beat the World” and “Resident Evil Retribution.” They can be seen in commercials for “So You Think You Can Dance Canada,” Dove, Nike, Bell, Staples and Virgin Mobile.
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