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Local dancer to represent Canada at World Dance Championships in Germany

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Local dancer Macy Obara will join some of the best dancers in the world, representing Canada and Lethbridge, while competing in World Dance Championships in Reisa, Germany Nov. 20-25.Macy Obara does a flip in preparation for the World Dance Championships in Reisa, Germany. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s something I have always wanted to do,” said Obara, 14, who has been flying to Langley, B.C. to practice with some of the best dancers in Canada for the competition.

She has been working with head choreographer Danielle Gardner and Charlene Hart  who is choreographing  her duo routine. She  is also part of a large group performance. She practices her solo routine at her hometown Studio Exisdance with teacher and owner Janielle Scott, one of several local instructors she works with.

 Obara is a versatile dancer who  does ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern and novelty dancing.

She has been dancing since she was four years old.Macy Obara is ready to compete in World Dance Championships in Reisa, Germany. Photo by Richard Amery
“I started at the University of Lethbridge, but that was for preschool, so I stopped for a few years and started again when I was nine or 10,” she said.
“Then she took up gymnastics and went back into dancing,” added proud dad Jeff Obara.
“She’s a very well rounded dancer,” said one of Obara’s instructors Taylor Rypien, who has been teaching Obara hip hop dancing for the past five years.

Rypien noted they informed her of the opportunity to compete in the worlds and let Obara take it from there. The International Dance Organization has over 250,000 member dancers from six continents.

The World Championship format is Olympic-style with only one Gold, Silver and Bronze medal presented on the podium while the World Champion’s National Anthem is played as the top three medalists’ flags are raised.

 The competition includes children, junior and adult categories. Obara will be competing in several events in the junior (age 12-15) category for both east and west teams.


Music and books for Word on the Street

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Word on the Street was a lot of fun on a brisk, Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23 outside the downtown Lethbridge Public Library.The Junkman’s Quire’s Megan Brown bundled up during their set at Word on The Street, Sept. 25. photo by Richard Amer

Jaron Weasel bear demonstrates  the crow hop at Word on the Street. Photo by Richard Amery
 Local Jazz/ rock/ Celtic band The Junkman’s Quire, clad in toques and jackets played their usual upbeat set of Cello tinged folk and Celtic  music.

Megan Brown  strummed guitar and sang as frontman George Fowler sat and played cello.

As expected, Word on the Street is all about books and reading.

I took in parts of several panels on Blackfoot storytelling and learned a little about the meaning behind pow wow drumming.

Other tents featured an assortment of authors reading from their works, while a panel of mystery writers answered questions  from a curious crowd about where their ideas come from.

Constance Douglas talks about Schnoogy at Word on the Street. Photo by Richard Amery— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor

Oktoberfest winds up ArtsDays

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Get a taste of German culture, not to mention German beer with the sixth annual Oktoberfest which returns to Galt Gardens, Sept. 29-30.John and Roy Pogorzelski are excited to celebrate Oktoberfest, Sept. 29 and 30 in Galt Gardens with a toast.Photo by Richard Amery
“Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world, like St. Patrick’s Day,” said Roy Pogorzelski, who is organizing the event with his brother John.

“ This year there are twice as many Pogo Brothers, we’re both MCing this year,” added John Pogorzelski, noting he has usually taken care of the logistical side of organizing this massive event while his brother has handled organizing the entertainment.

 In addition to special German style beer brewed by local brewery Theoretical Brewing, there will be live German music from Alpen Schatz, who have performed every year since the event began, but also new band the Polkaholics who are performing for the first year as well as Note-Able.

 The event  has been very popular since it’s beginning.
“Last year we had 4 or 5,000 people filtering in and out of here last year. They drank us out of beer last time, but that’s not going to happen this year, we bought a lot more beer this year,” Roy Pogorzelski said.

 Alpen Schatz,  playing Oktoberfest last year, will be back in Galt Gardens, Sept. 29-30. Photo by Richard Amery
 Oktoberfest continues to expand.
“This year we‘re hoping for 6 or 8,000 people. We’re hopeful mother Bavaria looks favourably upon us and gives us good weather,” he said.

“We started in Festival square, but moved it to Galt Gardens so more people could come,” Roy Pogorzelski said, adding improvements this year include ATMs and more bathroom access on site this year as well.

“We also have a family area this year, because we had people asking for one, so there will be face painting and games until a reasonable hour like 8 p.m.,” he continued.

Oktoberfest runs from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Sept. 29 and 30.


Lethbridge College celebrate 60 years with Couleefest

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Lethbridge College celebrates 60 years with Couleefest, a big free party in the middle of campus, Sept. 23.

Kari Bird is excited about  Couleefest, Sept. 23 at Lethbridge College. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s a big celebration for the College’s 60th anniversary,” summarized organizing committee Chair Kari Bird, noting the event has been a collaborative effort between students, faculty and all of the departments.

“ We felt we should something special for our sixtieth anniversary, so we thought holding a big, free party  on campus would be perfect,” she continued.
 There will be events both indoors in the food court as well as a beer gardens outside where four bands will be playing beginning with opening ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. with eight Indigenous dancers and drummers.

 They will be followed by local country band Hurtin’ around  2 p.m., then local  blues rock band the Steve Keenan Band will follow around 3 p.m.. Local funk/ rock/ disco/pop orchestra Hippodrome will be on stage around 4:15 p.m. and Calgary based east Coast style band 3 Finger Shot, will end the festivities with a set at 6:15 p.m.

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