During Spring Break, SMUS's External Programs department is offering a wide variety of camps for children that emphasize skill development, cooperation, participation and fun!

As is the case every year, we have incredibly talented instructors joining us to help provide unforgettable experiences for participants. We're pleased to introduce two incredible artists who are leading unique camps during Spring Break.

Alexa Ste. Marie

Spring Break Camp: A Dance Theatre Experience: Movement for Stage Performance

Alexa was born and raised in Kamloops, BC and grew up in a musical family that inspired her passion for dance. She is a multi-skilled dancer, singer, performer, and choreographer with professional training in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and theatre dance styles. She trained at the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA) in Victoria with a strong background in dance and movement, and has since gone on to work with local dance company Broken Rhythms, as well as teaching dance at Boston Dance Collective and CCPA. Alexa loves to play in the places where movement and music meet, especially when it's shared with others.

How did you first become interested in dance and theatre?

It’s how I was raised. My father was very interested in music and my love for dance comes from my love for music. I started dancing at the age of 3 and never stopped.

What do you love most about dance and theatre?

I love expressing myself and interacting with music through dance. I prefer being physically active than sitting around, and dance gives me the opportunity to move my body.

What are you looking forward to most about the Dance Theatre Camp?

I love interacting with children. I like seeing their sparks and creativity and giving them opportunities to explore it. And children are just so inspiring; I love their energy!

What is one achievement in your life that you are most proud of?

I really enjoy the art camps I teach to First Nations children throughout B.C. every summer with my sister. We work with a company called The Painted Turtle in partnership with Childhood Now and Right to Play to bring art camps to children. I love when the children perform for their community at the end of the camp. It’s very rewarding.

Outside of dance and theatre, what is something you are interested in or passionate about?

I love plants and being outside. I also do landscaping, and I am taking a floristry course and hoping to get into floral design.

Nick La Riviere

Spring Break Camp: Jazz Combo Camp

Originally from Vancouver, Nick La Riviere is an accomplished trombonist and singer-songwriter. He has toured internationally with bands such as the Juno Award-winning Paperboys, Michael Kaeshammer, 54-40, and Adonis Puentes. He has been a special guest with such bands as Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies), The Temptations, and Nikki Yanofsky. As a freelancer, he's one of Victoria's busiest musicians. As a teacher, he runs three community groups – a big band, an R&B band, and a jazz combo class.

How did you first become interested in music?

I’ve always wanted to be a pro musician. I knew that’s what I wanted to do back in early high school, maybe even earlier. I picked up the trombone in elementary school band and it made sense to me fairly immediately. My parents would listen to a lot of music at home and would also encourage me by taking me out to see various concerts. As I got older, they signed me up for various jazz camps that I think really helped get me where I needed to be with my musicality. There was a great trombonist, SMUS alum Hugh Fraser '76, living in Victoria at the time, who led some of those camps, and his extremely high energy showed me how exciting music can be.

What do you love most about music?

The energy. There’s room to convey a lot of energy from the player to the audience in most styles of music, and with the right delivery you can get the audience off their feet in the middle of a song in a theatre style venue. It’s fun to find musical ways to energize the music and the audience; it’s not just about playing the right notes at the right time.

What are you looking forward to most about the Jazz Combo Camp?

I’m excited to work with the next generation of musicians. I hope to inspire them to take their music up to the next level. With the right attitude and drive, music can be a great career, and I hope to inspire the students to feel as excited about music as I was attending jazz camps when I was in high school.

What is one achievement in your life that you are most proud of?

As fun as playing music is, it takes a lot of work to get to a point where it feels like a ’safe and reliable’ career as a freelancer. Before the pandemic, I had three steady local gigs, plus random freelance shows at least twice a week. I also did a lot of international touring across the US, Mexico, and Europe. I feel like that I’ve managed to get my career to that point. I’m sure all those gigs will come back after the pandemic, and in the meantime I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to keep all of the community groups I teach going during this by pivoting to making ‘quarantine cover’ videos, where each band member films themselves performing their part at home and I put it together. The videos all sound great, and I’m sure the band members will be proud of them for years to come.

Outside of music, what is something you are interested in or passionate about?

Video production is fun! I’m fairly good at editing in Final Cut Pro. I’ll sometime use my drone to capture some neat footage from the air to integrate into projects. And the video editing all ties in well with music.

To learn more about all of this year’s camps, running March 22 to April 1, or to read our safety plans, please visit our website. To register for any of the camp offerings, please visit smuscamps.campbrainregistration.com.