Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The dancers arrive and the competition begins, the city's feral cats once again claw their way onto the front page and a former Rupertite donates her personal papers to the UNBC archives, some of the items from the Monday paper.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE... FOR DANCING-- The front page, headline story features an outline of one of the judges at this years BC Annual dance Competition currently taking place at the Lester Centre of the Arts. Julia Bantner, an adjudicator at the competition recounts her travels over the years, from her homeland of Russia, on to fame as a dancer with Celine Dion's recent Las Vegas shows and now as an adjudicator of dance. The full article can be found below...

Elsewhere in the Monday paper is a look at the ongoing nature of Prince Rupert's feral cat population, a booming population of four legged felines that continue to be the focus of discussion at city council. Local resident Kim St. Pierre who runs a non profit cat rescue society is seeking a grant from the city for 1,000 dollars towards the spaying of 10 to 15 feral cats, a plan she suggests would help to diminish the population boom.

Iona Campagnola, the former Prince Rupert resident, broadcaster and Lt. Governor of British Columbia, to name a few of her talents, has turned over her personal archival records to the University of Northern British Columbia. Her donation will provide a timeline of her career in Northern British Columbia and her service to Canada during the period from 1950 onward.

A Terrace resident Jason Haldane, is heading for the Olympics of 2012, but he will be wearing the colours of England when he next takes to the volleyball court in Olympic competition. The Daily News reviewed Haldane's volleyball career and his decision to compete for England when that nation hosts the Olympics.

Total pages in the Tuesday edition (12)

Front page, headline story:

Adjudicator brings a world of experience
By Monica Lamb-Yorkski
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Tuesday, May 5. 2009

In addition to hearing feedback from an Australian adjudicator this week, students at the BC Annual Dance Competition will also glean insights from Julia Banmer, a dancer originally from Russia.

Bantner's mother was a ballerina and her father a concert pianist so the arts were always a part of her family.

Because of her mother's work, Bantner's family moved from Moscow to Holland and Germany. Today her parents work and teach in Holland.

In Holland Bantner's mother met a woman from a dance school in Iceland who invited her to come and teach Character Dance for two weeks there.

Bantner, who was 18 years old at the time, and an accomplished ballet student in her own right, sat in on a couple of classes at the studio and by the end of the two-week period was asked to join the national dance company in Reykjavik.

"The company had a contemporary and ballet focus. It was a great company," recalled Bantner. "There were 60 people. We were a repertoire company and we did three productions with different choreographers. It was fulfilling and interesting."

Iceland attracted interest from people who wanted to see the country and very famous people came to work with the dancers.

"I also did musical theatre and performed in Singing in the Rain, Westside Story and Kiss Me Kate."

It was in Iceland that Bantner met her husband Chad. He had graduated from the Julliard School in New York and after dancing for a few years in New York auditioned to dance in Iceland.

The couple danced for three years in Iceland and afterwards decided to go to the United States where they secured jobs dancing with the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet.

"It's not a big company either," Bantner explained.

While in Los Angeles, they auditioned for the Celine Dion show in Las Vegas and because Franco Dragone, the choreographer, was from Belgium, the show's 50 dancers went to Belgium for six months to choreograph the show.

Bantner and her husband lived in Vegas for five years until the show closed and then moved to Los Angeles to work in film and television in addition to working towards a goal of opening a dance studio.

Recently the couple has created workshops around creative movement for public school children in their neighbourhood.

"By doing movement through improvisation, using steps and rhythms with regular school kids we've put together a number. It's gone well and we've been invited back to expand the program in other schools."

It's also been fulfilling, she added, to see other kids get an opportunity to dance that might not have.

While in the Celine Dion show, Bantner met Stacey Tookey from Edmonton who had come to the BC Annual Dance Competition in Prince Rupert several times with her mom's dance studio.

Tookey told Bantner about the BC Annual and asked if she might be interested in being an adjudicator.

In the past, Bantner has adjudicated in Quebec, but this is her first time in BC. Bantner also met Eira Glover from Prince George when she was dancing with Celine Dion. She talked about coming to Prince Rupert for the competition as well.

"I've heard the level and standard are good so I'm very excited to see the dancers," Bantner said.

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