OTTAWA -- Many Grade 12 students are missing out on annual graduating traditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the students of the Canterbury High School dance program. They are now taking their annual performance online.

"It’s actually one of the reasons some students come to Canterbury," said Rebecca Tee, a ballet teacher and the dance department head at Canterbury High School.

Filling a 700-seat auditorium isn’t possible because of the pandemic, but the show must go on. This year, the show is going virtual - Dance Night 2020 will be streamed online.

It’s an event which showcases graduating students’ work.

"Not even a global pandemic can stop us from sharing our passion," said Tee.

Xander Sen is a Grade 12 student. 

"It was a really big focal point for me to go to Canterbury, because I really wanted to be able to choreograph my own piece," explained Sen. "This is the big celebration for the Grade 12 students, and something that we really look forward to since Grade 9."

"They’re putting together an interactive way of all the kids being able to dance together," Tee said.

Students have been busy working on the production from home - using what they’ve learned to create something that’s one of a kind.

"If anything, I think it makes us unique - it makes us standout from the pack; and, it shows our resilience as a graduating class," Sen said. 

Canterbury Dance

Victoria Burman is also in Grade 12 and a part of the production.

"None of us pictured a virtual dance night, obviously, but it’s so great to do something so groundbreaking," she said.

Burman said that much of the performance is from work done throughout the year, but the grand finale was all created online during physical isolation.

"We all had to find a space in our home to record ourselves, it proved to be a little bit difficult, but I think everyone stepped up and did really well."

Canterbury Dance

The production is also a big fundraiser for the program at Canterbury High School. Tee says the program is looking at other ways to raise funds.

"We count on the money generated from Dance Night to really help us for the subsequent year," she said.

The event is free to watch, and will stream this Thursday and Friday evening. The production’s website will have a link and has information on how to donate.