The Young Canadians prepare for 'A Christmas Spectacular'
If you walked into The Young Canadians’ (TYC) studio, say on a Tuesday night around 7 p.m., you would find 36 teenagers split into three rooms. In one room, the Senior Male and Female singers belt out ’All I Want for Christmas Is You’. Next door the Senior Male dancers condition while the Senior Female dancers jump, split, kick, dance.
TYC are two hours into a four hour rehearsal for their annual holiday show ‘A Christmas Spectacular’ which will take place on Saturday, December 14, 7:30 p.m. at Jack Singer Concert Hall. The Senior singers and dancers will be joined by the Apprentice singers and dancers ages 11-14. In the show, Santa’s Toy Shop will come to life with marching toy soldiers, harlequin dolls, dancing penguins and broadway quality kick-lines along with great arrangements of contemporary Christmas songs and cutting edge choreography.
Every member of TYC receives a scholarship valued at $9,000 which is fully funded by the Calgary Stampede Foundation. Behind those seamless performances we see at the TransAlta Grandstand Show are hundreds of hours of work since September. TYC practice 20 hours a week, more during Grandstand time. Their training involves conditioning, vocal training, acting class, tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop and acro. But there is so much more than just the technical skills they learn.
“We learn everyday skills, as well as professional skills like how to write a resume and how to prepare for an audition, which we treat like a job interview,” said Maggie Myles, a 17-year-old senior female dancer in her third year.
TYC are led by artistic director Angela Benson, who was once a member of TYC herself. Benson returned to TYC as a teacher 11 years ago after working on cruise ships and performing on London’s West End.
“I fell in love with teaching which was totally unexpected,” said Benson. “The kids fuel my passion. They push me to be a better performer. It is so humbling and gratifying to watch [them].”
In an essay about what makes being in TYC unique, one student wrote: “There is nobody who makes me want to push myself harder than Ms. Angie. She is constantly making me prove to myself that I can do things I never thought possible.”
“They are giving us the tools we need to take off with a career after The Young Canadians,” said Tyler Logan, 16. “They are teaching us that there are no boundaries to what we can do—that you can’t dream too big.”
You will want to make this show a part of your family’s Christmas tradition! Tickets to “A Christmas Spectacular” are $23.10. Tickets are available online here or at 403.294.9494.