Behind the Scenes

Creative Camps for Kids at the LAC

Thank you to all the campers, parents, and staff for an amazing summer camp 2011!  July and August were filled with fun, creativity, and imagination.  Check out some of the highlights from this summer!   

Join us for Winter Break (Jan 3 - 6, 2012), March Break (Mar 12 – 16, 2012) and Summer 2012 (Jul 3 – Aug 24, 2012).

CLICK HERE for programme information and 2012 camps registration.

Each Friday, campers aged 6 – 7 in All About Art prepared an exhibition for friends and family, showcasing all their hard work and creative ideas from the week. This week’s theme was “The Great Outdoors” and campers were busy constructing their favourite snacks out of papier-mâché. The end product looks convincingly tasty wouldn’t you agree?

This year’s Bravo Broadway was another smash hit! While the 8-10 year old’s refined their sweet tooth in the production of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, the 11-14 year olds worked hard to get by with just a few of their favourite things in the production of The Sound of Music! This camp is always a sell-out so don’t miss out!

Campers in Clay Crazy (ages 8 – 10) had a great time creating everything out of clay! From frog sculptures to functional serving dishes, campers learned a variety of hand building and decorating techniques, as well as trying their hand at the potter’s wheel! Stay tuned for the forthcoming interview with two of our campers as they explain why clay is so much fun and how using the potter’s wheel is kind of like learning how to drive a car!

Campers in Creative Couture were busy designing, measuring, cutting, styling, and sewing unique and functional fashion pieces! In addition to showcasing their new  creations down the runway at the Friday fashion show, campers also learned how to screen print and create other stylish accessories.

And an extra thank you goes out to all the volunteer assistants who woke up early each day and helped make each camper’s week a memorable one!  Good luck in the new school year!

Summer Camp 2012  ONSALE NOW!

Register early to avoid disappointment!


ALL THE RIGHT MOVES: An Interview with Mandy Hanafi, Ballroom Dance Instructor at the Living Arts Centre

LAC: Can you tell us a bit more about which Community Courses you teach at the Living Arts Centre? How long have you been teaching them?

Mandy Hanafi: I have been teaching the ballroom and Latin dance classes at the Living Arts Center for [nearly] ten years now. We have a basic beginner ballroom class, which consists of the waltz, tango, foxtrot and quickstep, and a beginner Latin dance class which includes the cha cha , jive, rumba and samba. I also teach a level one and level two salsa/mambo and merengue class every Sunday night. This spring, we will be starting a new line dance class in which I will teach the most popular and fun beginner to intermediate line dances.

LAC: Who do you find typically takes your classes? Is it only couples? The newly engaged looking to get ready for their big wedding day?

M.H: We have every type of person signing up—some as young as [teens], some well into their seventies and eighties. There are lots of couples coming to prepare for their wedding dance, and lots of couples who have children at home but would like an interesting evening out together doing something fun. Ballroom dancing is a sport that two people do together, so yes, most students come as couples, but, especially in the salsa class, there are a lot of things to learn individually so I would never discourage singles to come and try. As well, in our new line dance class it is all danced individually [with no partnering].

LAC: What can a student expect when they show up for one of your classes at the LAC?

M.H: They can expect to have a lot of fun! We learn a lot—four dances in ten weeks—but I repeat the basic information every week, which makes it easier to learn and to retain the information. Then we move on to a new step or pattern each class. I don’t try to overwhelm [students] with too many patterns, or too much technique . . . I try to make it a happy learning environment with lots of opportunities for the students to ask questions and review what we have done.

LAC: Is their a skill or two that every student ends up building after taking a course like Latin Dance?

M.H: Dancing is such a wonderful way to express ourselves, and most people in our society have opportunities to go out and dance at some point; either a Christmas party, or a wedding, or on a cruise , or even just around the backyard pool. I try to teach the most basic techniques and steps that will get people up and moving as quickly as possible. Being able to accomplish each dance well gives us such a wonderful feeling of confidence, and I usually see that happening about the third or forth week into the lessons. When we feel confident, we walk taller, and project ourselves so much better, and that is one of the best reasons to learn to dance. It really builds a person’s confidence and self esteem.

LAC: What’s your favourite style of ballroom dance, and why?

M.H: LOL; no favourites! They are all great. The ballroom [technique] is classic and elegant and brings out the graceful side of us. The Latin [technique] is fun and flirty and high energy, and the salsa is easy going, energetic and less technical so we can just let loose and enjoy it without worrying so much about how we look. All dancing is a beautiful opportunity to let our spirits loose and feel good about ourselves. The music inspires, and the dance lets us be part of it.

LAC: If you had to give a word of advice to those just starting out in ballroom dance, what would it be?

M.H: Approach it with on open mind and heart, and do not get discouraged. The first week, maybe two, is a bit tough because we are just getting to understand the basics of movement, but after that, it is all just pure fun. The challenge of learning is good for us!

LAC: Thank you Mandy!


The Ghost Light

The Living Arts Centre Ghost LightThe LAC is committed to reducing energy consumption and being green. Earlier in the year we started leaving most of the lights off in Hammerson Hall, our main theatre space. Consequently, there was a need for a safety light for our technical staff when they entered the stage area.  Our “ghost light” is made from a broken floor lamp left behind by a client. It sits on a dolly with steel wheels (which would damage the stage surface if they carried any significant weight). When shows are on the stage, the light lives in a wing backstage.  Spoooooky… you can read more about ghost lights at: