Local dancer heads out west
Clara Biernacki, 13, a dancer with Atyeo's Dance Studio, is embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, heading out to tour western Canada with the Sqx Dance Company. Here she stands with studio owner Tracy Atyeo.
A Highview Public School student will be spending this fall on the road as part of a professional dance troupe.
Clara Biernacki, 13, a dancer with Atyeo's Dance Studio, is embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, heading out to tour western Canada with the Sqx Dance Company.
As a member of the apprentice performance program, Biernacki will be training, performing and teaching from September to December as she travels with the company to Alberta, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, spending her last month in Vancouver.
Through correspondence and online learning, she'll be able to keep up with her studies during this time.
This apprenticeship gives pre-professional and professional artists the opportunity to share and expand skills and knowledge within a professional performance tour context. In practice, this means that after intense training, apprentices would have an understanding about what it is like to be in a dance company.
It does this under a gentle setting that does not entail the full responsibilities of a professional artist, but with professional artists as mentors.
Biernacki said she is a little nervous about this, but is also excited to pursue the opportunity.
“I think it's going to be cool to tour throughout Western Canada,” she said. “Tour and dance which is what I love to do, and learn a lot of leadership skills, too.”
She agreed it will also give her a taste of what it will be like to be a professional dancer on tour.
Studio owner Tracy Atyeo said this news comes during an eventful summer for the dance school, which involved purchasing the building at 308 Boundary Rd., getting it ready as their new studio and moving in, as well as having the time to hold three weeks of summer camps, offering a four-day competitive team dance camp and hosting a three-day workshop with Carmen Moreira, the owner and director of the Sqx Dance Company.
It is during that workshop Biernacki was discovered and offered a spot in the apprenticeship performance program.
“This is usually a position offered to dancers aged 18+,” she said. “However, Clara's maturity, discipline and dance training at this studio have made it possible for this offer to come her way.”
Sqx is dedicated to fostering the development of contemporary dance through performances and outreach programming. They provide a flexible touring series for arts venues, schools, and conservatories to bring performances and interactive programming to both large and small communities around the world. Sqx uses dance to share and encourage innovation, kinship, collaboration and teamwork.
“I am very proud of Clara,” Atyeo said. “She has always been driven, organized and hard working. I know she will represent herself, her family, community and dance studio with strength, determination, commitment and success. We wish her all the best.”