Eight dancers from Northern Lights School of Dance — Chelsea Hartwick, Iris Binger, Erin Linklater, Allyn Walton, Leah Anderson, Caitlyn O’Connor, Caleigh Farrow and Athena Lavados — were among the 475 young dancers who set a new world record in The Hague, Netherlands, on July 8.
It was the closing ceremony of the Dance and the Child International conference, and all week the young participants had been rehearsing an adaptation of Clogs, a dance by renowned Dutch choreographer Hans Van Manen.
The huge public square outside the Lucent Danstheatre was preset with squares of green Astroturf alternated with empty squares in a checkerboard pattern that was 46 squares wide and 19 rows deep.
The dancers took their places to each side of the checkerboard dressed in jeans, golden-yellow conference T-shirts and Dutch-style wooden clogs.
It was then announced that this performance was a purposeful attempt to set a world record for the most dancers to ever perform a clog dance together.
Then the performance began and 475 bodies walked in patterns, jumped, kicked and turned, while 950 arms moved in unison.
And the rhythms and sounds of wooden shoes against Astroturf, pavement and each other lent a lively percussive element.
When the enthusiastic applause of the audience ended, two officials from the Guinness Book of World Records were introduced.
They made an official count of the number of dancers then explained that, although they were not authorized to announce the setting of a new record, the results seemed decisive.
The 475 performers cheered and whooped and hugged each other, a truly international celebration of dancers from several continents.
The eight young Northern Lights School of Dance dancers were accompanied by Deborah Lemaire, artistic director of the school, and two dance instructors, Mary Ann Annable-Roots and Dianne Homan.
At afternoon showcases the girls performed two modern dance works choreographed by Lemaire and another NLSD instructor, Rebecca Reynolds.
The girls’ excellent dance training and the sophisticated choreography of Yukon choreographers were highlights of the performances.
Homan and Annable-Roots had an additional role at the conference.
They are the two dance artists involved in Yukon Arts Ed-Venture, a new program in the 11 Whitehorse elementary schools designed to integrate the arts into the teaching of core curricular subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies.
On the conference day, themed Dance in School, they presented a lecture-demonstration of three Yukon Arts Ed-Venture lessons using movement: one to develop reading skills in grades K and 1, the second about signposts and symbols including totem poles and inukshuks for Grades 3 and 4, and the third about the rock cycle for Grades 5 and 6.
The eight NLSD dancers assisted by playing the roles of young school children in the lessons.
The three adults received funding for their attendance of the conference from Cultural Industries Training Fund, and the eight dancers fund-raised and received generous support from their families.
Kudos to the
Re Mushing for government money (the News, July 7):
Thank you to Tourism Minister Elaine Taylor for recognizing the importance of the Yukon Quest and for the department’s continued support.
My “quotes” given in the July 7th article were from before the announcement of the purse increase and completely out of context.
I welcomed the news of a purse increase in a phone interview, but for some reason those thoughts were not printed.