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How to survive dance season

How to survive dance season

Survival tips for Augustana students

The parking lot is full. You drive around in circles, getting more and more frustrated. Finally, you park on a nearby street. Then, you see a large group of dancers with sparkly buns prancing towards the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. With a sigh, you realize it’s dance season again.

The Lougheed centre has been hosting dance festivals for the last four years, and this season will be the busiest with eleven festivals from March to the end of May.

The Medium sat down with the Lougheed’s General Manager, Nick Beach, and Patron Services Manager, Tanya Pattullo, to discuss the ins and outs of dance season. Here are twelve dance season survival methods for students:

1. Recognize that the economic implications for the City of Camrose are immense.

Beach said that based on nine festivals last year, 5,000 kids performed and an additional 12,000 people attended. “The economic impact on the city last year was almost 5 million dollars, which is huge for Camrose,” said Beach.

Dance season is an essential part of the year for businesses in Camrose. “Small picture. The parking lot is full. Big picture. Nearly five million dollars,” said Pattullo.

2. Realize that some of these dancers could be your future classmates.

“These kids are growing up coming to Camrose and campus multiple times a year. From the U of A perspective, we’ve got all these potential future students on campus,” said Beach. “If they come and have a positive experience, they may choose Augustana.”

Pattullo said that these 5,000 dancers represent a cross-section of the entire province of Alberta. “The prospective student office sets up a booth in the lobby and gives tours, and they do get a lot of inquiries,” said Pattullo.

3. Go to the concession.

“The concession in the lobby is open all day nearly every day. Go have a beer in the theatre – that’s a survival tip,” said Beach.“Or come in and have a morning mimosa if you want,” said Pattullo.

4. Leave early.

“Leave your house just a few minutes earlier if you want a parking space,” said Beach. “Or avoid the chaos parking lot altogether.”

5. Walk, carpool, or bike to campus.  

There are fewer parking spaces available so use that as an excuse to be more environmentally friendly.

6. Embrace the chaos.

Dance season may seem chaotic but embrace it. The campus is getting a lot of traffic and facilities are put to use. “It’s worth the grief,” said Pattullo. “They are here, and they are bringing nearly 500,000 dollars to Camrose with every festival.”

7. Respect the sport.

Pattullo said that some people forget that it isn’t a pageant. “They see the glitter and eyelashes and don’t understand that the things these kids do on stage are incredible,” said Pattullo. “Respect the sport. There’s a lot of skill involved. It’s just like hockey or volleyball.”

8. Go check it out.

Pattullo and Beach said that students are welcome to come and wander through the centre. “Also, the festivals are cheap to attend if you want to watch some dancing,” said Beach. “The senior large group stuff is so impressive.”

9. Get a part-time job at the Lougheed.

Beach said that during dance season the building is staffed nearly 24/7 and many employees are working around the clock. “Many of our concession staff are Augustana students,” said Beach.  

10. Eat pulled pork.

“Two different festivals will have a pulled pork food trailer in the quad. Students can take advantage of that,” said Beach. “They are raising money for children and will be smoking the meat overnight. It’ll smell amazing.”

11. Only take morning classes.

Most dance festival days don’t start before 9 a.m., so choose courses that start earlier so that you can leave earlier. “It’s also okay to hide,” said Beach.

12. Be proud.

The Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre provides an ideal space for dance festivals – and many other events. Augustana is a place to be proud of, and there’s no better way to survive than by changing your attitude. 

“We have the ideal situation here. The geographic location is excellent. Camrose has amenities and cheap hotel rooms,” said Beach. “The theatre itself has the second largest stage in the greater Edmonton area. Also, we have room for 140 people in dressing rooms and the Mayer Hall is a perfect practice space.”

Pattullo and Beach said they want students to know they are welcome anytime. “We’re not evil, and we have a lot of awesome things happening here,” said Pattullo. “From a student perspective, it’s like ‘what the hell.’. But, it’s good to think about the big picture,” said Beach.  

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