Communities join together for Project Soul
Hip Hop dance group Project Soul are coming to the Kootenays bringing performances, workshops and community outreach to Nelson and Trail, under the umbrella of the 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival. Under the direction of choreographer Kim Sato, Project Soul is a troupe of talented, professional artists who have come together to spread their love of street dance. They will be performing their show ‘Back to Basics’ at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson on Friday, February 24th and at The Bailey Theatre in Trail on Wednesday, March 1st. The performances will also include opening acts by our young Kootenay dancers! For Nelson’s performance, Dance Fusion’s Hip Hop and Break Dance classes get the exciting opportunity to open for Project Soul and for Trail’s performance, Steps Dance Centre and Youth Action Network Rossland dancers open the show. Tickets are $5 (ages 29 and under) and $10 Adults and are available at the theatres.
Project Soul will also be doing a demo and talk back at LV Rogers and JL Crowe high schools during their time here, as well as offering free dance workshops for youth! Then on Sunday February 26th from 3-5pm at Nelson and District Youth Centre, Project Soul will lead an all ages cypher (a cypher is a Hip Hop term for a dance circle where dancers freestyle). Erica Dee will MC the cypher and will DJ along with DJ Fluxo, and there will be special guest Hip Hop dancers and singers in attendance! Everyone is welcome to attend the cypher and we encourage the Hip Hop communities in Trail, Rossland and anywhere in the West Kootenays, to come dance with Nelson’s in what we hope is just the beginning for closer creative ties between our communities. (For more info visit www.oxygenartcentre.org)
The initiative to bring Project Soul to Nelson and Trail, and to deliver this exciting programming, is the result of a special collaboration between cities and their art communities, working together to enhance Oxygen Art Centre’s 3rd annual Youth Arts Festival. Capitol Theatre’s director, Stephanie Fischer and The Bailey Theatre’s manager Nadine Tremblay secured BC Arts Council funding for the Project Soul performances, workshops and high school outreach and shared the costs of bringing the group to the Kootenays. “By joining forces to enhance the festival’s ability to bring in a more regional approach to programming, we are able to achieve a lot more than by working in isolation” says Miriam Needoba, Oxygen Art Centre’s director. “Also by bringing in acts from outside the region with specialty skills and professional experiences not always found in more rural and isolated communities such as ours, the whole community benefits.” Oxygen Art Centre also secured funding for the cypher dance circle event from Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Osprey Community Foundation and festival sponsors Can-Filters, who have also funded the purchase of a dance floor for the event, that will then be available for use at all future cypher events.
Community support of this programming continues with Nelson’s Dance Umbrella, Trail’s Steps Dance Centre and Rossland’s Kootenay Danceworks Studio who have all donated their studios for the free dance workshops for youth. The City of Nelson has donated the use of the Nelson and District Youth Centre for the cypher. Dance Fusion’s Slava Doval is coordinating Project Soul’s visit to Nelson and also suggested bringing the group here in the first place, citing a special interest in the holistic approach Hip Hop Culture has towards not just dance and music but in community. This community-based approach is something that Hip Hop dancer and visual artist Amber Santos has been dedicated to developing in Nelson for the past eight years along with Martine Raby and others, who have all been working to get regular cypher events happening. According to Santos, “We want to encourage dancers of any style to freestyle! Usually bboys and bgirls, but also house dancers, lockers, poppers, lyrical hip hop, krump and other kinds of urban dance. Bboys and bgirls challenge each other and dialogue through dance. Everyone in the cypher holds the energy and keeps it hype. Respect is the rule. Working on musicality, creativity and owning your dance!”
The goals of Oxygen Art Centre’s annual Youth Arts Festival are to encourage youth to pursue their artistic talents and interests, and those of their peers in a professional and meaningful way that can be celebrated by the community at large though attendance at the all-ages events. Everyone is invited to come out and support this important programming initiative and celebrate youth arts culture in our communities! (Festival information is available at www.oxygenartcentre.org)