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Dancers stretch and leap to Quesnel podium

Quesnel Performing Arts Festival underway with dance elements

The lords and ladies of the dance were all crowned for their Quesnel accomplishments.

The curtain closed on the dance component of the Quesnel Performing Arts Festival, after more than 500 entries made their moves on the Chuck Mobley Theatre stage. This was the 40th edition of the showcase.

“As an amateur dance competition, the goal is to provide a positive and fun environment where dancers can perform, learn, grow and meet other performers and instructors,” said festival spokesperson Vicky Predan. “Days were long, competition was tough but these dancers gave it their all. Our adjudicators were impressed with the level of talent and commitment displayed by all performers. It was amazing to see parents, teachers and fans flood the theater.”

Each category had its winners, but the grand champion, after all the calculations and considerations were combined, was Alexis Mackenzie who receives a trophy, scholarship, and professional photo shoot donated by Wild x Darling.

Mackenzie is also one of the six dancers selected by the judges and adjudicators to represent the festival at provincial championships coming up later this spring in Penticton. Since this is an open festival, with talent accepted to compete from all over the province, there is no guarantee any of the representatives will be from Quesnel, but Mackenzie (who dances at For The Love Of Dance) in Senior Stage Level III and Averie Lentz (who dances at Gold Pan City Dance) in Junior Ballet Level I are all local and called to B.C.’s highest level of dance competition. The other competitors and alternates selected were from three different dance companies based in Prince George.

Three companies from Quesnel were represented in the festival: For The Love Of Dance (26 performers), Gold Pan City Dance (eight performers), and newcomers this year Quesnel Technic which is, strictly speaking, a gymnastics organization but were welcomed warmly to the related field of dance. (Their group number Copycat won the Acrobatic Small Group event, and their soloist Kamryn Grant won for Acrobatic Solo.)

For The Love Of Dance was awarded three Top Overall trophies for Group/Duo performances. They hit the top of the podium for Hip Hop Group (Where They From? by Alayna, Innaya and Nevaeh Khan), Contemporary/Modern Duo (5,4,3,2,1 by Alexis Mckenzie and Brianna Godsoe), and Jazz Group (Why Not? by Alexis Mckenzie, Emily Milliken-Heape, Brianna Godsoe and Taya Yamamoto).

There were 190 1st Place medals up for grabs. The Quesnel dancers who took home at least one of the top placings in a category were: Riley Waterdrinker, Maddie Lawrence, Averie Lentz, Allira McKort, Alliannah Tanner, Samara Thornhill, Navanah Lister, Rosalie McKort, Kamryn Grant, and Millicent Jawanda.

Each family of dance genres gave out a Top Overall award, as a champion among those first place winners. The Quesnel dancers who got this aggregate 1st Place award were Alexis Mackenzie, Alivia Collins, Gizelle McDonald, and Zoey MacDonald.

A particularly popular category - Best Overall Song and Dance - went this year to a Quesnel competitor. Soloist Zephora Munoz “wowed the audience with a beautiful vocal performance,” said Predan.

Special Awards and Scholarships were awarded to Alivia Collins – Most Promising Dancer 12 & Under; Taya Yamamoto and Alexis Mackenzie – Most Entertaining Duo; Alayna, Innaya and Nevaeh Khan – Best Overall Group for Where They From?

Artistic Performance Awards were awarded to Ashlyn Boyd – Junior Ballet Musical Interpretation; Malin Lawrence – Junior Ballet Musical Interpretation; Samara Thornhill – Junior Stage Musical Interpretation; Brianna Aaslie –Intermediate Stage Musical Interpretation; Maia Nygaard-Cook – Senior Stage Musical Interpretation; Alivia Collin, Averie Lentz – Junior Ballet; Aliannah Tanner – Junior Modern; Gizelle Mcdonald – Junior Stage; Zoey Mcdonald – Junior Stage; Alexis Mackenzie – Variety.

All of the festival results can be viewed on the QFPA website, with photos and overall winners also posted on their Facebook and Instagram account


“We are proud of each performer who stepped on stage. We encourage all dancers to be kind, cheer each other on and most of all have fun this competition season. You are all amazing and we hope to see you back again next year,” said Predan. “The QFPA would like to thank all of the performers, families, friends, studio owners and community members. Performers should be proud of their accomplishments.

“If you are passionate about supporting the Performing Arts in our community, please consider volunteering with us. Contact us at”

Up next is the vocal/choral component of the festival April 4-6.

Read more: Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts approaches

Read more: Quesnel Festival of the Arts celebrating performers after event cancelled


Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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