Sunday, May 10, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, May 8, 2009

Perfection at the Lester Centre, a cash crunch for Biotoxin program and electoral letters, letters, letters to the Editor, all part of the Friday edition of the Daily News.

DANCER RECEIVES A PERFECT SCORE IN LOCAL COMPETITION-- The front page, headline story in the Friday paper featured the achievement of Prince George dancer, Matthew Cluff, who received a perfect score at the BC Annual Dance competition at the Lester Centre. The Daily outlined his work regiment and competitive spirt as part of the front page story. (see full story below)

Elsewhere in the Friday paper, the local North Coast Water Quality and Biotoxin program is in need of funding to keep it's operations in place, without a quick turnaround of their financial fortunes it is feared that the entire program will come to an end. Sounding the alarm, Pat Lawson expressed concerns over health issues for First Nations villages and aquaculture interests could be a risk.

The election feature Pressing Questions once again offered up a talking point to the debate, that of what needs to be done to attract doctors to move to the riding, we'll outline the responses later in the blog.

The final days of the provincial election campaign have brought out the letter writers, with a number of tributes to the local favourites, we'll also outline those letters further along in the blog.

High School girls soccer highlighted the Friday edition of the sports page with a review of the recent PRSS/CHSS match up.

Total pages in the Friday edition (20)

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Friday, May 8, 2009
Page one

Prince George resident's amazing performance wows judges at this year's B.C. Annual Dance Competition.

When Matthew Cluff received a mark of 100 from the adjudicators at the BC Annual Dance Competition for his lyrical solo on Tuesday afternoon, he was surprised.

In fact, the 16-year-old Prince George dancer said, "I was pretty stunned. Dancing is an art form and it's tough to be judged like that because there's always room to improve."

Cluff has been coming to the BC Annual Dance Competition since he was lZ years old, the age he said he became serious about dance.

"We were doing the Nutcracker and I decided that dance was what I wanted to do," he recalled.

Part of that decision involved committing himself to training year round.

''I'd lose the splits over summer so over the last couple of years I've worked hard in the summers."

In Z008, he attended a summer intensive in Kelowna for five weeks and this summer he will be in Seattle taking a five-week ballet course where he has been offered a full scholarship.

"I'm possibly planning to become a professional ballet dancer," Cluff said. "It's important to have solid technique and at the summer school I'll be put into a place with so many kids working toward the same goal."

This time around Cluff has prepared six solos, some duos and several group pieces for festivals and competitions.

In addition, he choreographed six solos and one duo for other students at the studio and a senior piece he performed in with three other dancers on Wednesday evening.

Cluff has been dancing since he was two. His older brother wanted to take dance at Enchainement Dance Studio because he liked a girl and Cluff tagged along to watch.

"I was dancing around the room while my brother was in the class and someone told my mom she should sign me up," Cluff said.

His brother quit after three years, returning to take song & dance and jazz one year, but Cluff stayed with it.

"He's attending the Vancouver Film School now," Cluff said of his older brother.

Each day of the week Cluff leaves for school at 8:30 a.m. and after school heads to the studio, where he does not take a break until he goes home at 9 or 9:30 p.m.

When asked what he does outside of dance he smiled and said, "sleep and do homework."

He will be going into grade 11 next September but plans to graduate in 2010. He'll be able to do that because he is two grades ahead in math, has never had spares, and his dance exams have helped him gain additional academic credits.

Injury-free for the most part, Cluff has had minor bumps and bruises from dance but said he has never had to stay away.

"I've been really lucky," he added.

He also feels fortunate to be part of the dance community in Prince George.

"It's a big enough community to really get support and have enough kids to keep you driving but it's not a mega town. Things are much more personalized and one-on-one. If you were in Vancouver you might not get that."

On Wednesday evening, Cluff performed in four pieces during the first category and afterwards looked completely content as he chatted in the lobby.

"Right before I go on stage I actually get pretty nervous which is kind of sad because I've been doing this for a while but I then, I push it to the side. When I'm in a group or duo I'm not nervous but am totally comfortable. I guess it is the nervousness of your routine."

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