Esquimalt grad brings dance heritage to Capital Region

Laurent Vincent was disappointed when he thought about the kind of celebration he could expect to have once he and his small class finish their high school studies and graduate from École Victor Brodeur.

“I was thinking about how it’s not going to be as fun as the other schools,” Vincent said. “What if we unite all of the schools in Victoria and do one massive grad? Red carpets, cameras, limousines – everybody in the city.”

The 17-year-old, along with Grade 12 students Anita Chow and Musu Ofosu from St. Michaels University school, is planing 2011 Victoria Super Grad – a dry grad dance party open to all Grade 11 and 12 students in Greater Victoria and beyond.

The prom-style party, featuring DJs from New York and Boston, is slated to run 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., June 18 at Eagle Ridge Arena in Langford.

Vincent’s confident he’ll be able to reach his ticket sale goal of at least 1,500, since 700-some guests have signed up through Facebook, prior to any formal promotion.

This will be the largest, but not the first dance party Vincent has staged. Growing up in the Caribbean gave him a love of dance – something he wants to share because there just aren’t a lot of events for the under-19 set.

“When I got here, there was nothing, so I decided: what would happen if we threw one party with music? Everybody loved it. It’s fun to see and fun to watch.”

But Vincent doesn’t just watch. During the last two years, he has thrown all ages dances around the city through his Teen Party Group and he always gets on the dance floor. He was behind the Halloween dance at Velox Rugby Club – one that was intended to host 350 kids and ended up drawing closer to 600. The primary trouble in this scenario, Vincent said, were those left out of the party, eager to get into the space. A minimum 20-member, licensed security team will be hired through City Centre Park, where the arena is located.

He has encountered other expected roadblocks as a teen juggling the responsibility of organizing a major event.

“My dad told me that if I could keep my grades up, I could continue to do this,” said Vincent, who hopes to study business at the University of Victoria.

So far, he has sought tutoring from his “smart kids” classmates eager to participate in Super Grad themselves.

His mother Sandra Angus-Vincent has also signed her name to the project to lend legitimacy to the teen’s efforts.

“The whole point of the grad is trying to link all of the schools on the Island,” Angus-Vincent said. “What Laurent found, was that although we’re a small island, we’re not very connected.”

Tickets are on sale through high school student representatives for $35 through the month of April and $45 in May, with $5 from each sale donated to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts through The Canadian Red Cross. For more information, search for 2011 Victoria Super Grad on Facebook.

nnorth@saanichnews.com