Lochlin resident Sebastian Renel is airborne during a rehearsal for his A Short Short Summer jazz dance performance that will be showcased as part of Dance Shorts at HIFF at 10 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 4. at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. Renel is one of three local choreographers (Julie Barban and Chyna Schell both using local dance talent) showcasing their talents at Dance Shorts which includes performances on Nov. 3 to 5. Professional choreographer Holly Small's Cheap Sunglasses (with dancer Evan Winther accompanied by four musicians) will kick off Dance Shorts at HIFF./ DARREN LUM Staff

Dance comes to the theatre for HIFF

By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 31 2017

This year’s film festival will be showcasing dance shorts instead of short films before its featured movies during the three-day event held from Nov. 3 to 5 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton.

From a collaboration between Haliburton International Film Festival and DH3 (Dance Happens Here Haliburton) there will be six live dance performances staged for audiences which were all inspired by movies such as Swing Bring It On A Winter’s Tale King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Pride and Prejudice.

DH3 worked with Dusk Dances Inc. back in 2006 to bring the popular by-donation Dusk Dances Festival to Haliburton’s Head Lake Park. When the annual festival concluded DH3 continued to bring professional dance to the public at a variety of events such as Minden’s August Moon Festival the Nutcracker and now HIFF.

DH3 committee member Lynda Shadbolt said the motivation to bring dance to the festival allows the public who would otherwise not get the opportunity to travel to Toronto to see professional dance performances.

With global tragedies headlining the news the importance of dance shouldn’t be underestimated she said.

“In this day and age in the world [we need this]. Dance is so beautiful and it’s inspiring. It’s evocative and just gets into your heart” she said.

Kicking off the dance-shorts on Friday Nov. 3  will be the premiere of established  choreographer Holly Small’s new version of Cheap Sunglasses which features dancer Evan Winther accompanied by four musicians. When asked about why Cheap Sunglasses was ideal for Haliburton Shadbolt said the timing fit for both parties. DH3 knew Small planned on taking Cheap Sunglasses to the DanceWorks 40th anniversary celebration held from Nov. 16 to 18 so getting an opportunity to stage it at HIFF just prior was ideal for everyone.

It also brings a refined and polished piece created 36 years ago to the community.

This performance will also be staged for a Grade 9 and 10 drama class earlier in the day at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.

On Saturday and Sunday the dance shorts will continue with performances choreographed by locals Julie Barban of Heritage Ballet Studio and Chyna Schell of the Haliburton Dance Academy and then Lochlin resident Sebastian Renel will perform a solo work he choreographed.

Shadbolt said having local choreographers and dancers is integral to bringing a spotlight to local talent and to motivate others.

“We wanted to showcase what the local choreographers were doing and the local kids so we want to increase their profile as dancers in the community but also we want to bring in outside dance to inspire them” she said.

The local choreographers submitted proposals and receive a small stipend to perform.

Shadbolt said DH3 believes in paying for talent because they respect the skill and work invested in dance.

This event is possible because of private donors and funding from the federal government. Government grants are really important for DH3 and the way the group brings dance to different events has contributed to successful grant applications.

“We just apply for grants. They just love this. It’s unique what we’re doing. They don’t have a lot of communities that are adding dance to existing events. They kind of like that” she said.

DH3 is  made up of dedicated members (Amy Brohm Barb Fraser Jim Blake Lynda Shadbolt and Maryssa Danilko) who love dance and meet once a month discussing ideas to share dance with the community. They appreciate partnerships and collaborative efforts to bring dance. They’ve also given financial support to bring dance to Haliburton such as lending assistance to the drum festival in Haliburton.

DH3 has also been responsible for bringing in guest performers for the Heritage Ballet Studio’s annual Christmas tradition show The Nutcracker.

Last year the group DH3 helped to bring two Ukrainian dancers. This year the plan is to bring four dancers and host a community night with them. They hope to include Ukrainian food.

Getting dancers to come to our community Shadbolt said is not a hard sell. “These performers love to come to Haliburton because we’re good at hosting. Look at [Hometown Hockey] … we’re good at doing that kind of thing. It just makes the community richer” she said.

For more information about DH3 donate or provide input for ideas see haliburtonyoga@gmail.com .