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Dance performance cancelled

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Millennium Place opening date set back to May 14

Completion of Maurice Young Millennium Place has again been pushed back by several weeks, forcing the cancellation of the finale to the Whistler Community Art Council’s Showcase 2001.

The Dance Theatre of Oregon was scheduled to perform May 5 and was slotted to lead dance workshops in conjunction with the newly-formed Whistler Dance Society, but the soft opening of MY Place is now scheduled for May 14.

Neither My Place management nor its anxious tenants are too surprised by the date change. General Manager, Rob Hallam, says he has been realistic with the tenants about the prospective opening date, and most were in fact prepared to move in during the latter part of May.

"One of the things that the contractors and sub-trades have found is that it is a relatively small footprint and there’s a lot of space compressed into it. Rather than in some building sites where you can have multiple sub-trades on site working on things simultaneously, this project is one where a sub-trade has to come on site and complete their work and then make way for the next one coming on," says Hallam.

The dance theatre is in fact one of the most complex parts of the facility and has proven time-consuming in its construction. The drop ceiling design requires massive scaffolding across the entire floor. That means work can’t begin on the stage or seating areas until the ceiling is complete.

Whistler Dance Society Director, Trina Eby, was particularly disappointed by the cancellation of the Dance Theatre of Oregon. Eby was responsible for co-ordinating the local workshops with the troupe. It was hoped the performance could be re-scheduled for an alternate location in the resort, but the troupe felt there were no appropriate floor spaces for their show.

"We should be very clear that we were quite edgy about the Oregon performance date, months ago even," says Hallam. "And we had worked out a contingency plan. Let’s say we have seats in the theatre but the deck for the stage isn’t quite complete... how can we deal with that? And we had a number of things in place. It’s unfortunate that within the last 10 days or so we’ve found out that we can’t even get into the space. And as much as it is a disappointment to the Arts Council and to those who were looking forward to the performance, we don’t want to rush construction for just one date. It’s a gorgeous design with lots of finicky, wonderful details that we want to be done as properly as possible."

The Whistler Dance Society was also to begin regular classes in MY Place May 1. But Eby says she was prepared for the short set back. Although schedules are in place and instructors lined up to go, Eby has postponed registration until the doors to MY Place are physically open.

Hallam is confident the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for MY Place will go ahead June 17. A grand opening festival is scheduled for the week of June 21, to showcase what the facility has to offer. This will include the first performance of the Whistler Dance Theatre, a show choreographed by Eby and featuring the talents of local and Vancouver dancers. Eby says she was to be rehearsing for the premiere in MY Place, but has instead secured temporary space at Meadow Park Sports Centre and Myrtle Philip Community School.

Those who had already purchased tickets for the Dance Theatre of Oregon should contact the Whistler Arts Council for a full refund.

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