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On Stage Dance Festival wraps up another year

Some 800 dancers converged upon the Humboldt Uniplex between April 11 and 14, to compete in the annual On Stage Dance Festival held in Humboldt.

Some 800 dancers converged upon the Humboldt Uniplex between April 11 and 14, to compete in the annual On Stage Dance Festival held in Humboldt. Committee chairperson Corinne Norman said the 16th annual On Stage Dance Festival ran smoothly due to seamless cooperation and coordination. "I have to really give a round of applause to my board of directors, each and every one of them have really shone," she said from the Uniplex on Wednesday. "Would this be possible without any single one of them? No."Dance festival organizers opted to outsource a lot of this year's On Stage management to paid workers rather than having to rely so heavily on volunteers. This year security was provided by Miles Engele, video adjudication was completed by Evan Jenkins, setup of the live feed was arranged by Corri Barnes, and Samantha Hawkins designed the festival's program. "That eliminated a big bulk of our work," Norman said of the paid staff. "Overall the board of directors worked all year and during the festival between 50 to 60 volunteers worked the four days."At one time, the On Stage Dance Festival required the dedication and labour of between 150 and 175 volunteers, said Norman, but organizers have since decided to scale back the event. The On Stage Dance Festival was capped off at 821 dancers this year to accommodate the time necessary for dancers to compete in a variety of genres. Norman said at least four dance schools were turned away because there just wasn't enough time or room for the additional performances. "We knew how much time we had so that was divided by the number of duets, solos, short and long programs. Once we capped off the minutes that we allocated daily, we knew when we had to start saying no to anybody that wanted to register later." Norman said the prestige and reputation of the dance festival has grown over the years, attracting dancers from across Saskatchewan. The On Stage Dance Festival is specifically designed for recreational dancers who have no more than one hour of theory per discipline per week. "It gives a lot of opportunity for students to carry on and learn from the experience," she said.Coming to the (On Stage) Dance Festival is not just another run of the mill dance competition. Many competitions don't offer the extent to what we offer or any at all."Dance festival participants receive complimentary video adjudications, medals and scholarships. Attendants also receive the safety and organization of elements such as a VIP room, registration and security. "The tools and services have been highly regarded and we've been getting emails, phone calls, texts, cards of thanks and flowers from people all over the province because we had people from across the province come out to participate."Norman was sure to emphasize that while the On Stage Dance Festival has been running for more than a decade, the city of Humboldt can work more diligently to capitalize on its presence. "There's definitely an economic spinoff and there's an opportunity for Humboldt to showcase itself to potential new residents and businesses," said Norman. "The festival has been running quite awhile but it's still new to a lot of people. It's still building but there's still a lot of room for growth for people to attend, (and) to work with usit would be really incredible if the arts were embraced the same way as sports are." The On Stage Dance Festival 2014 will be held April 10-13.