Last year, the Calgary Stampede Showband was excited to introduce a new section of dancers to its 120 member group of musicians and performers. The dancers were a big hit on the Saddledome Steps and took the Showband’s performances to a new level. This year, the dancers will be back as part of the Showband’s winterguard and summer field show productions in addition to parades and other community performances. According to Showband director Aaron Park, the Showband provides dancers with unique performance and learning opportunities that further advance the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s strong commitment to developing the potential of the young people in our community, providing them with the means to become spirited citizens with strong roots in western heritage and values. The Showband program is designed to develop youth within the performance arts.  Each member of the organization is committed to seeing members achieve musical, performance and personal excellence.

Showband dancer MacKenzie Fraser performing in the Showband's 2014 production, "Aurora" at McMahon Stadium.
Showband dancer MacKenzie Fraser performing in the Showband’s 2014 production, “Aurora” at McMahon Stadium.

Dancer MacKenzie Fraser says that joining the Showband was one of the “most exciting yet different experiences” she’d ever had with dance. She tells us that through Showband the dancers have learned many new things ranging from how to count differently to trusting her friends in colour guard, who are forever spinning and tossing flags around them. The dancers also learned to use field markers and dot sheets – a skill MacKenzie says was challenging, but worth it.

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Showband dancers Cassi Groves and MacKenzie Fraser entertaining crowds at the Saddledome Steps during the 10-day Calgary Stampede.

“The Showband is different than any other organization out there because the band is really the true definition of family with such a positive atmosphere where everyone shares the same goals and passion for band. Choosing to be a part of this wonderful organization I got to experience many wonderful opportunities, gained lifetime friendships, and developed a stronger passion for dance than I ever had before.”

MacKenzie Fraser is 17 years old and previously performed as a member of The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts.