Mayor's gala a variety show of hot and cool
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 06:00 am
Elise Seehagel, 24, still remembers vying for gold in jazz and ballet dance competitions at the Arden Theatre.
Five years ago Seehagel switched to ballroom dance. She is a ballroom perfectionist, one of the Edmonton area’s most accomplished.
She has been invited with partner Daniel Seguin to perform at the upcoming Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Gala this coming Tuesday at the Arden Theatre.
“I was really excited and honoured to be asked to perform at the event, and it will be nice to get back on stage and have fun,” says Seehagel in a brief telephone call from Arthur Murray dance studio where she is a full-time instructor.
Although it was never planned, the Mayor’s Gala is also her au revoir from St. Albert.
“I’m moving to London, England,” she said. “I always wanted to do more with my dancing and I’ll be training in London, a city that is second to none. I’ll be teaching full-time at Arthur Murray, and I’ll be getting into competition, finding a partner and developing my dance more.”
Seehagel and Seguin will perform more than a couple floating turns in two dances with costume changes in between. One is an American rhythm dance that blends cha cha and bolero. The other is an American smooth embracing the footwork of foxtrot and tango.
In addition to Seehagel, the mayor’s gala also showcases Tupelo Honey, St. Albert Theatre Troupe and the Peter Belec Trio.
In an extravagant Broadway-style opening showstopper, St. Albert Children’s Theatre present company and alumni pair up with Dance Co and Art of Dance.
“They’ll be singing and dancing. At one point there will be 73 people on stage. It’s massive. We’re opening and closing with a bang,” says gala chair Nancy Watt.
Closing the variety show is Tupelo Honey, St. Albert’s favourite rock band.
“We knew right away we wanted to feature them,” Watt says. “Their energy, the quality of their music. They have a contagious energy and they’re recognized beyond the borders of St. Albert for their work. We wanted to acknowledge their hard work.”
For Tupelo there’s a bonus playing for friends and the hometown brood.
“We’ve been a big part in carrying the flag for St. Albert bands. We started playing in St. Albert and our first show was at the Arden Theatre in 2004. It was a talent competition and we won some recording time,” says Dan Davidson.
They went on to win a national band competition a year later and toured with major rock bands across the country. At the concert they will perform their two latest singles, Pull Me Closer and Last Thing, both of which broke the Top 40.
“We want to make sure the show is about who we are and what we do and we want to thank St. Albert for being a part of it,” Davidson says.
Sandwiched in between these two acts is St. Albert Theatre Troupe. They will perform a specially commissioned 10-minute play written by David Haas. Director Sheldon Ishaq directs Anti-dope starring Terri Gingraf, Julian Stamer, Nicole Thorsley, Bob Lociero and Rita Jensen.
And finally the Peter Belec Trio, composed of Belec (Guitar), Doug Organ (keys) and Jamie Cooper (drums), will deliver some smooth jazz.
“We wanted to feature a different genre of jazz and Peter’s name came up right away,” Watts says. “We’ve seen him perform. He has a standard of excellence and commitment to his craft. He’s one of the most dedicated musicians I know. But he works quietly behind the scenes rather than take the spotlight – even though he could easily be in the spotlight.”
The gala also features St. Albert Live, a teaser for a cultural services department initiative. It is a short four-minute video highlighting St. Albert’s regional artists filmed at different landmarks throughout the city. For the moment, the initiative is being kept mostly under wraps and will receive its debut screening at the gala.
The gala reception is at 6:30 p.m. and the award ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the gala are $35. Call 780-459-1542 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca.