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

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

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read