Dance company’s tour features Caribbean flavour

Stages Dance Company perform at Canadian Embassy in Cuba for Canada Day celebrations

The Stages Dance Company is currently in Cuba for a whirlwind eight-day trip

Sixteen years ago, Kim Breiland witnessed firsthand the critically acclaimed National Ballet of Cuba.

Now, the founder and artistic director of the Stages Dance Company has taken her students to the Caribbean country for an eight-day trip to learn about its rich culture and perform with talented dance groups from Cuba.

“The timing was right to go in,” said Breiland. “With all of what I’m seeing happening in the United States – with the lifting of the embargoes and with Obama making moves to open up that trade – I wanted to get down to Cuba with my students before it all changes.

“The National Ballet of Cuba is world renowned. A lot of my friends from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet have often travelled down to train at the National Ballet of Cuba and have come back just beaming about it.”

The Stages students headed off to Cuba last week, performing at the Canadian Embassy as part of its Canada Day celebrations.

“It just makes sense for us to do something,” said Breiland. “We’re usually down at the parliament buildings – we’ve done flash mobs on Canada Day.

“It’s truly an honour to perform for the embassy while we’re there.”

The trip also includes joint performances with the National Ballet of Cuba, the Cuban Dance ensemble, the Habana Compás Dance Group and the Afro-Cuban musical dance group at Casa de la Cultura. Stages will be performing numerous jazz, musical theatre and contemporary dances, as well as taking in the high-energy Latin and African styles of the other performers.

While Breiland has previously taken students to New York, the Soviet Union and on Armed Forces tours, she said this year’s group wanted “something different,” namely a way to give back to the communities they were visiting. As part of their humanitarian effort, the students have packed their luggage bags with items that they will be donating to families in Cuba.

“There’s a community centre that we’re going to for the lower income families in Cuba – we’re taking in school supplies, dance shoes, colouring books,” said Breiland.

“It’s important for me to teach the kids that the art form can also do good and help the community.”

Breiland said the trip would be an eye-opening experience, showcasing Cuba’s abundant dance history and sure to leave the students with invaluable insight and lasting memories.

“They know what they’re going into, on paper,” said Breiland with a laugh. “It’s going to be an adventure.”

 

jacob.zinn@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the Apollo 11 moonlanding

‘Ground control to Major Tom’ the countdown is on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Over 200 lives saved in first year at Victoria’s supervised consumption site

The Harbour celebrates its first anniversary with a report of zero deaths on site

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Saanich Mayor says ‘no costs asked of municipality’ for proposed film studio

Mayor Fred Haynes made that comment after questions from watchdog group

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

Most Read