The 54th-annual Thompson Festival of the Arts is kicking off March 13-14, with two days of dance competition at the Letkemann Theatre.
“This is a community festival dedicated to promoting the arts,” festival organizer Jolene Brow said. “Particularly with youth. That is generally our focus, although we do have adults who will participate.”
The festival, which runs until May 27, celebrates multiple artistic disciplines, including dance, visual art, speech, vocal and piano - instrumental strings.
“Visual and dance take up the majority of our festival,” explained Brown. “There will be all styles of dance this weekend, and 134 competitors. We have ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, jazz, tap and contemporary.”
Brown said the competitors are primarily from Thompson and surrounding communities.
“You can come from anywhere in Manitoba, though,” she said. “Friday morning is ballet, then we move into lyrical and contemporary. Saturday is hip-hop, jazz and tap dancing. Our adjudicator selects who they feel are the top performers, and then in May we have a highlights concert where those participants are asked to perform again, and they receive medals or scholarships.”
There is an amazing level of talent in Thompson, said Brown.
“I’ve been here 20 years and the level of talent that some of kids have is crazy,” she explained. “Sometimes you see that come out. They come up with a piece of artwork and you just say, ‘Wow.’”
Brown said the majority of the dance competitors come from Diamond Dance Academy and Aurora Dance Academy in Thompson.
“There are a few entries that come independently,” she said. “They create the piece on their own.”
Dance performances at the Letkemann Theatre, March 13-14:
Friday - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other festival dates:
Piano - strings - instrumental: April 16 - 17
Speech - vocal – choral: April 29 - May 1
Visual Arts: May 11 – 14
Highlights Concerts: May 26 - 27