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Dancers show their moves as Parkland Dance Festival returns

11 clubs and more than 500 dances converge on Yorkton

YORKTON - After COVID-19 caused cancellations the past two years, the Parkland Dance Festival is back in Yorkton. 

“We’re absolutely excited,” said festival chair Jennifer Haas Friday afternoon. “We’re so happy kids get to be back on stage doing what they love. It’s nice to see their smiling faces.” 

The return of PDF for its 15th event certainly had the support of dance clubs in the province, with 11 taking place from as far away as Weyburn, Moose Jaw and Martensville, along with local clubs Dance Innovations, Extravadance and Dr. Brass School Performing Arts. 

“I’d say it’s about the same, (as in 2019),” said Haas, reiterating “everybody’s just excited to get back on stage.” 

Haas said it helps attract clubs because the festival has a good reputation “as a very friendly competition” where “there’s a lot of applause and cheering for every team.” 

Combined, the 11 clubs brought more than 500 dancers to the city ranging from ages three and four to 17 and 18. 

All the dancers would be adjudicated by the combination of Naomi Stikeman and Jen Morris, performing a range of styles from tap and jazz to hip hop and contemporary. 

Overall, Haas said she, and the others on the board are satisfied it all came together to hold the event again this year. 

“We’re happy we were able to put it together,” she said, adding, “. . . The board does an amazing amount of work.” 

Haas also admitted it wasn’t a certainty that they could hold the festival when the current dance season began back in 2021. 

“We weren’t sure what might happen with requirements and lockdowns (tied to the pandemic),” she said. 

“Now were just super excited it’s happening.” 

Haas said the dancers were obviously ready for a live event again. 

“I’ve been in there, (the Anne Portnuff Theatre), a few times watching and could see the amount of energy,” she said, adding there was a noticeable exuberance even as the dancers “walked into the building.”