The Heart and Soul Dance and Theatre Collective performed at The Arts Station last weekend. Ezra Black/The Free Press

Heart, soul and the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’

The Heart and Soul Dance and Theatre Collective recently performed

About 30 years ago, Alana Minifie-Rybar helped found The Arts Station with her high school’s theatre collective.

“I was a kid,” she said. “We sang, we handed out lemonade and we performed.”

Over the weekend she was back on the stage, performing alongside one of her daughters and their friends in a live theatre performance of a circus inspired show called Under The Big Top.

“How cool is that,” she said after Sunday’s performance. “It’s come full circle.”

Minifie-Rybar is the owner of the Heart and Soul Dance and Theatre Collective. Her show featured dozens of dance numbers that touched on themes of diversity, inclusivity and acceptance.

For example, one of the dancers, Shaylyn Johnson, performed with glitter beard in a symbolic protest of all those makeover shows where girls end up “skinny and stunning and not at all like themselves,” said Minifie-Rybar.

“I hate those,” she added.

Minifie-Rybar hopes that her cast learned a few lessons by putting on a show that chronicles life in the circus; a place where misfits are accepted and celebrated.

“It’s a commitment I made to myself a few years ago that everything I put on stage, I want it to have some kind of meaning and purpose,” she said. “Not just for the audience but for the performers.”

She thanked the dozens of performers and dancers, some of who had traveled all the way from Montana, for making the show a success.

Before leaving The Arts Station to attend a cast party at the nearby Fernie Hotel, Minifie-Rybar likened musical theatre to giving birth.

“It can be very stressful getting ready for a show but after its done, you only remember the good parts,” she said.

Minifie-Rybar has an impressive resume. She’s worked at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. For seven years she owned and operated her own theatre company in Fernie.

“I just shut it down last year,” she said. “And everybody cried because they thought it was over.”

“I had so many students but I couldn’t do this kind of stuff, I didn’t have enough time, so I had to make a choice,” she said. “Now I can say yes to these kind of things that I’ve always wanted to do but never had time before.”

Just Posted

Fernie Snow Drags; an ongoing tradition

Like wild animals filled with an everlasting rage, sleds flew down the… Continue reading

Shypitka reacts to BC budget

Kootenay East MLA laments increased taxation, spending

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BC Wine Institute to take legal action against Alberta

The BC Wine Institute to seek injunction to protect B.C. wineries from Alberta wine ban

BC BUDGET: Tobacco tax hike may light up black market in smokes

NDP government adds another 56 cents per pack as of April 1

4 treatment centres to open in memory of B.C. teen who died of an overdose

A treatment centre for addictions is opening in Penticton after the first one fell through

Contest woos creative workers to Kaslo

Fun stunt highlights serious concern for rural B.C. towns

BCHL Today: Merritt peaking at right time and Taylor signs with UNH Wildcats

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into third place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Most Read