Young artists from across Fort St. John and Northern B.C. take to the stage Thursday morning for the first public Peace River North Performing Arts Festival in two years.
The festival kicks off at the cultural centre with four days of dance through to Sunday, drawing performers from Alberta and all the way from Quesnel and Prince Rupert.
“We’re excited. Some of the classes are down a little bit but we’re just so pleased that we’re getting back on stage,” says organizer Margaret May, adding festival judges are just as pleased about the return from virtual competitions held through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was interesting because with the pandemic we had a virtual festival and it brought some people just to join us virtually because they didn’t have to travel, they just sent their videos in,” May said. “They really liked it and were really happy, and so there’s a few people coming that joined us virtually last year that are coming in person this year.”
Dance sessions including ballet, jazz, hip hop, acrobatics, and tap will run "full tilt" into Saturday evening, May said, with duo and trio performances set for Sunday before a series of workshops in the afternoon.
After a quick set change, the choir division takes to the stage Sunday evening, followed by a full day of band next week Wednesday, April 27.
The festival will finish April 30 and May 1 with the strings and piano divisions, and with a live best of festival concert of provincial qualifiers planned for Saturday, June 4.
This year’s provincials, however, will still take place virtually June 5 to 9, with performances planned to pre-recorded.
“Kids that perform here and qualify, we’ll rent the stage for a day and get them up there and do some videos,” said May.
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