Dance lessons pay off for ‘Small Stage’ soloist Wicklund

It’s mid-February already? Can’t be – I still have things on my list that I haven’t gotten to yet. Sorry, sorry. I even missed the mention of the Family Day holiday on Monday. Sheesh. So as the days are marching on toward, well, toward March, I am just going to give a brief catch-up of things that should be mentioned. This is the shortened version, so read slowly and savour – it’ll seem like it’s longer then.

Thousands of little girls living in Surrey take dance lessons. If they stay with the lessons through their teens, they will have survived hundreds of recitals, performances and competitions. Very few of these thousands ever turn professional – and that’s OK, too. There is a great joy in dancing (more than OK for guys, too), and participation in an activity that is both social and physical is not a bad thing to acquire at any age. I speak from experience and a lifelong passion for the dance arts.

Kirsten Wicklund was one of these thousands of little girls who grew up in Surrey and took dance lessons. Her dedication, talent and passion, plus support from family, promoted Kirsten to the ranks of professional. She has certainly won her share of awards, and was one of the finalists on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Now, you can see her in person performing in the 30th installation of Dances for a Small Stage, which runs from Feb. 13 to 15 at the Ukrainian Centre, 154 E. 10th Ave., Vancouver.

Kirsten will perform in the premiere of a contemporary-ballet solo work that she choreographed herself. Additional performances at Small Stage include actors Patti Allan and James Fagan Tait performing original Noam Gagnon choreography, a tango number from Grupo Americano, tap dancing by Jim Hibbard and works by Rob Kitsos, Karissa Barry and more. It’s a special show if you love dance.

And then there are those who love to sing. Shouldn’t everyone love to sing? Just like dancing for boys, somehow our society is set in certain “traditions” and singing for fun and dancing in the streets (or onstage)

is just not encouraged. Well, take heart all you more mature people out there who were not encouraged to sing when younger. Recording artist Rhayne is continuing her Love to Sing classes at Surrey Arts Centre. She says anyone can do it and, after taking her first session, I believe.

These group singing classes for adults explore many music genres, including pop, musical theatre, blues, ballads and rhythm and blues. All you need is an interest in music – singing experience is not required. Rhayne’s vibrant and friendly teaching style creates an encouraging atmosphere where everyone, regardless of singing ability, feels at ease. I would be there, but the times are wrong for me right now. But join in if you can. A new session starts Wednesday, Feb. 12 (you can still join after this date), from 2 to 4 p.m. at a cost of $50. Register online at, by phone via 604-501-5566 or in-person at the arts centre, at Bear Creek Park.

It is not too late, however, to get tickets to Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen. This eclectic cabaret of loves won and lost at New York’s infamous hotel runs at the Surrey Arts Centre from Feb. 20 to March 1. This is the last production in the

Arts Club On Tour series for the 2013-14 season. Tickets range in price from $29 to $43, including all fees. Student rush seats ($15) ticket are subject to availability 30 minutes before curtain (call 604-501-5566 or visit I just booked my tickets, and I can tell you there aren’t many left. This is a truly magical show, and you won’t want to miss it. You will leave with a song in heart. Lovely. You know Cohen; works like “So Long, Marianne,” “Bird on a Wire,” “First We Take Manhattan” and the ballad “Hallelujah” have been covered by numerous artists, including Jeff Buckley, k.d. lang, Nick Cave, Aaron Neville, Johnny Cash and R.E.M. Now, you really want tickets, don’t you? The White Rock Library’s Art Wall is featuring the works of fibre artists until Feb. 28. It is amazing what art can be created using fabric and stitching techniques. It’s not just quilting – although quilts are truly works of art on their own. I will leave it to you to check out these remarkable artworks. Be inspired. Acknowledge your creative side. Learn to dance, join a singing group or go view the library’s art wall. Even better, do all three.

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