August 6th, 2020

Students move bodies to a new beat

By Kalinowski, Tim on October 12, 2019.

Toronto dance company brings innovation to city

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and G.S. Lakie students were learning about the power of their bodies and moving to a new beat while working with Toronto-based Alias Contemporary Dance Company through much of the past week.

“They are an incredibly innovative, energetic and well-known company from Toronto,” said Geordan Olson, director of the LCI Arts Academy dance program. “It’s extremely important to have somebody of this calibre come to work with students in Lethbridge. They are from one of Canada’s biggest dance meccas. They are on the tip of what’s hot in dance right now.”

Olson was able to convince the Alias Dance Project to come to Lethbridge because she is a co-founder and former dancer with the company.

“I’ve known these guys for years, and I have always wanted to bring them down to work with my students because I know how incredible they are,” she says.

“I can tell by watching my students dance, that this is something completely different than they have ever done. They are moving their bodies completely differently than they have ever moved their bodies. I can see the passion and fire they have when Alias is working with them.”

Alias fuses traditional and contemporary dance forms with martial arts and street dance styles. What brings all the styles together, and connects it all back to the students, is pure athleticism, says Alias artistic director Lauren Cook.

“The rooting element is athleticism,” Cook confirms. “That’s why football players can connect to it. The ballerinas can connect.

“We are all grounded around our centre, and from there we find movement that can bring us together. We came with the intention of opening the students’ minds, and getting them to move and try different things in different ways.”

Cook also choreographed two separate pieces for LCI and G.S. Lakie in her time in Lethbridge, the results of which will be featured during the schools’ public dance performances in February.

“The way we put material together is probably very different than what they have experienced before,” says Cook.

Grade 11 LCI dance program student India Arden appreciated what she learned from Alias over the course of the week.

“They aren’t just one specific style,” she says.

“They combine everything, and really teach us that dance is movement. You don’t have to be doing just ballet or jazz. You can combine all this stuff to create movement.”

Grade 9 LCI student Nate Bruce says the high energy intensity of the dance choreography they learned from Alias have him and his classmates stoked.

“It’s quite fun, and they pipe it up a lot and make us energetic,” he says. “When we are tired, they just pump us up again, and we have a lot more fun.”

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