Brother and sister dance champions

Brother and sister dance champions

Ballroom glamour in Nanaimo

NANAIMO - Canadian and international dancers compete in the annual Island Fantasy Ball in Nanaimo at Beban Park.

You can feel the excitement and energy.

It’s palpable as competitive dancers glide in their glitzy and glamorous outfits on the floor of the Island Fantasy Ball, said Vicki Linfitt, chairwoman of the event.

She said if people like Dancing with the Stars, they’ll love the Island Fantasy Ball. The dance competition attracts some of the top Canadian and international competitors.

“We want this to be an exciting competition,” said Linfitt.

That’s why the festival has a budget every year to invite international competitors

“They want to go up against people of that calibre,” said Linfitt, about local competitors. “They want to have meaningful competition and be against someone amazing.”

The ball features competitors of championship level, the highest level of dance competition.

There will be competitors like David Odstrcil and Tara Bohak from the Czech Republic. The partners are the current Czech champions in both standard and 10 dance and are ranked top 10 in the world.

Others include Michael Rubezin and Nikki Vujanic, Canadian under 21 10-dance champions; John Burke and Doreen Thompson from Courtenay who are B.C. senior III Latin champions and Errol and Ami Williamson, Denmark 10-dance champions.

Linfitt said the competitors are dedicated and are elegant to watch on the dance floor.

She said people in Nanaimo still don’t seem to know about the Island Fantasy Ball even though it has been happening annually in the community for 24 years.

“I don’t want people to take it for granted. It’s really an event worthy of a city like Vancouver,” said Linfitt.

It takes an army of volunteers to stage the ball every year for the non-profit society.

“We’re very appreciative of our volunteers,” said Linfitt.

Linfitt said the community also benefits from the annual event with competitors filling up hotel rooms in the area.

The Saturday evening performance has a catered buffet. Linfitt said the Nanaimo event is one of the few competitions to still offer the buffet.

The Island Fantasy Ball is Saturday and Sunday (May 7-8) at the Beban Park social centre. Tickets are $15 for Saturday daytime performances, held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are no seating reservations for the daytime competition. There is reserved seating for Saturday evening and Sunday.

Seating in the premium front-row tables is $90 for Saturday and $39 for Sunday; for front-row tables it’s $75 for Saturday and $29 for Sunday; second-row table seating is $55 for Saturday and $19 for Sunday and riser seats are $45 for Saturday and $35 for Sunday. If a patron purchases an evening table, the ticket also admits them into the daytime performances.

Saturday evening attire is formal or semi-formal.

For advance tickets please call 250-754-8550 or go to www.porttheatre.com or tickets are available at the door.

For more information about the event, please go to www.islandfantasyball.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com