Yukon Dancers Are Here to Stay

Jude Wong and I sit facing each other, sipping our coffees. She is nibbling on toast, and I am picking at a muffin – two food staples of dancers. We are talking about SYIDA (Society of Yukon Independent Dance Artists).

Yes, this has been a feature of several articles in recent issues, but I am writing this article as a type of YDNB (Yukon Dance News Bulletin). My intention is to let the dance community know that SYIDA is here to help and support all who are involved in dance up here.

Wong is very passionate about this organization, and since last June she has been working on making sure that SYIDA becomes a messenger and an advocate of dance in the Yukon. SYIDA brings a message that practising dance artists can develop a sense of pride and stability, and gain recognition as performing artists without having to leave the territory.

Exposure to dance-related shows, activities, workshops and seminars should be accessible for artistic members. It also allows dancers with careers outside of the Yukon to come back and share their work.

Active professional dancers or choreographers are able to become artistic members while the general public, supporters of the performing arts, recreational dancers, students, etc. are able to purchase a general membership.

It is the hope of SYIDA that other organizations engaged in supporting the performing arts will be able to practice some of the same ideals.

Now, I know that in the past there have been at least two other dance societies created by dance teachers and/or dancers/choreographers in Whitehorse. Northern Dance Phrase, in the 1980s, and Dancers With Latitude, in the 1990s, both served their respective times in the communities.

Unfortunately, they became extinct as members moved away, moved on and/or lost the drive because of restrictions within the dance world up here. It is Wong’s hope that this does not happen with SYIDA as there appears to be an ever-growing interest in dance and the desire for professional dancers to stay here.

Through SYIDA and their website, www.societyofyukondanceartists.net, one can find out about past seasons, classes, criteria for membership, proposals, links, studio series, news about dancers’ works, workshops and upcoming performances.

When I came here, in 1982, as a dancer, my skill set seemed to be a rare commodity. Nowadays, with two thriving dance schools, a variety of theatre companies (professional and amateur) and resident professional dancers, our territory has a wealth of dance-related talent from which to draw.

We’ve come a long way and now there are a lot of dancing fish in this little pond. Yeah!

SYIDA’s AGM will be held Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Whitehorse Public Library. Dessert will be served … Mmm – another food staple of dancers.

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