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Canadian Dance Recognized At Home and Abroad

  • Nova Bhattacharya / Photo courtesy of Bhattacharya
  • Jazzy Alix at Milan Pole Dance Studio / Photo by Johany Jutras
  • Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi performing at the Varna International Ballet Competition / Photo by Viktor Viktorov
  • Rosario Ancer / Photo by VNB Photography
  • Jasper Palfree and Kate Feldman at the International Lindy Hop Championships 2016 / Photo by David Soltysik
  • Robin Poitras in her own work Bells / Photo by Ana Rita Rodriguez

Jazzy Alix of Montréal won first place in the elite division of the North American Pole Dance Championships in July. Alix is a PhD candidate in material science and discovered pole fitness just four years ago when she began her doctoral work. In addition to her studies and dance work, Alix is a teacher at the Milan Pole Dance Studio in Montréal.

Toronto dance artist Nova Bhattacharya was awarded the Canadian Stage Award for Direction for her work Broken Lines at SummerWorks Performance Festival. The award comes with a $500 cash prize for outstanding direction of a work at the festival and is presented by Canadian Stage. Also awarded at the festival, the Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation went to Andrew Tay for his trio Fame Prayer/EATING. Honourable mentions in the Vanguard category went to Montréal’s Helen Simard with her ensemble piece NO FUN and Toronto’s Ellen Furey in her solo Performing Performance. Simon Portigal was an honourable mention in The Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award for his duet Aattitle.

In July, Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet won silver medals at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria. Both Shirai and Shi are apprentices with the company and were the only finalists from a Canadian company. In 1980, another RWB dancer, Evelyn Hart, was the first Canadian to win gold at the international competition for her pas de deux with fellow Canadian David Peregrine, who won bronze.

Rosario Ancer won The Dance Centre’s $10,000 Lola Award. The award is named after the late Vancouver dance artist Lola MacLaughlin and is presented to a senior-level choreographer every two years. Ancer has been instrumental to flamenco in Vancouver for over twenty-five years, co-founding her school Centro Flamenco in 1989 and the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival in 1990.

Jasper Palfree won silver in the Advanced Jack & Jill competition at the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, DC. Palfree was paired with Kate Feldman from Baltimore, Maryland, for the competition, which chooses your partner for you. He is a swing instructor at Toronto’s Bees’ Knees Dance studio and was at the competition with the Toronto team, That Swing.

Robin Poitras,the artisitic director of New Dance Horizons in Regina was awarded the lifetime achievement honour by the Saskatchewan Arts Award. The honour recognizes Poitras’s commitment to artistic excellence, collaboration, socially engaged art practices and mentoring that have had a significant impact on cultural practice in the city of Regina and the province of Saskatchewan.

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