President’s Message – 2014 Annual General Meeting

2014 was one of reflection and re-charging for the Society. After a busy anniversary year in 2013 and limited financial and volunteer resources, our activities were focused on administrating the community dance scholarship program and co-presenting two exciting performances in collaboration with The Source Dance Company and Calle Verde Flamenco group from Vancouver.

The production of Dances on Water, premiered in October 2013 at the Sechelt Arts Festival ended the 2013 anniversary year on a major high along with great reviews. This major event utilized every society resource available from recruiting professional caliber choreographers, overseeing months of rehearsals with a core group of adult community dancers, soliciting sponsors and engaging the help of every board member and our network of volunteers. The end result was a professional level production with a universal theme that could be worthy of touring to other provincial festivals.

In May 2014, the Society presented “West Side Stories” produced by the exciting multi-genre performance group, The Source Dance Company from Vancouver. Presenting The Source Dance Company’s annual production as a spring fundraiser for the Society has become a highly anticipated event for audiences and student dancers on the Coast. The Source has provided several “springboard” opportunities for many youth dance students on the coast studying at the pre-professional level and invites student collaboration in their performances at the Raven’s Cry Theatre. We will be pleased to host them again in 2015.

This spring, the society received confirmation that the SCDS would become the administrator of a new dance scholarship in the name of the late society founding member, Lois Smith. A very timely occurrence considering the twenty-year anniversary of the society in 2013. In her honour, the scholarship was awarded specifically for “Excellence in Ballet.” This enabled the Society to broaden the scholarship program in 2014 to include three awards to deserving coast dancers:

  • Lois Smith Award of Excellence in Ballet: $1000 to Evangeline Larsen
  • SCDS Award of Excellence in multi-genre dance: $500 to Cassidy Rainer
  • SCDS Multiple Achievement Award: $1500 to Kristie Sita

These awards are provided through donations we receive from individuals, members, co-production revenues and other fundraising inniatives. The funds received are pivotal to assisting coast dance students and adult dancers with financial assistance to further their dance education and training. We are proud to say that 2014 was the 21st year that the society has been able, through donor generosity and ticket revenues to offer the scholarship program.

Another important role of the society is the residency-hosting program. Each year we receive multiple requests from national and international dancers, choreographers and dance groups wanting to apply to our residency program. The week-long residency opportunity for guest artists provides a coast venue to work on new material plus room and board. In return the artists host a “master class” community workshop and a public performance at the end of their program. This program has brought numerous innovative dance artists and unique performances to the coast that otherwise the coast community would not experience. The artists also enjoy a taste of the coast and welcome the community collaboration and opportunity to incubate new ideas. This program also takes funding, time and volunteers, something we were in short supply of in 2014. Therefore in 2014, we didn’t offer a residency program.

Looking Forward

In 2015 we look forward again to offering a residency opportunity dependent on government or community grant funding, as well as hosting our annual scholarship program in June.

We have already booked The Source Dance Company at the Ravens Cry for a return performance as they premier their 2015 production in the spring. Community support for this co-production is essential to securing ticket sales to help fund other programs.

In October of 2015, as part of the Sechelt Arts Festival, we are looking forward to an opportunity to host a master class workshop and community dance collaboration with Margie Gilles, one of Canada’s leading contemporary dancer/choreographers when she performs on the Ravens Cry stage, for the first time ever on the Sunshine Coast.

Diana Robertson
SCDS President, 2014