Elvis tribute benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters

ModernLee Dance presents a rock 'n' roll revival next weekend at Abbotsford Arts Centre. The company is staging a music, dance and theatre performance called Jailhouse Rock, which is inspired by the songs of Elvis Presley.

International award-winning Elvis impersonator Ben 'Preslee' Klein stars in the upcoming production of Jailhouse Rock presented by ModernLee Dance

ModernLee Dance presents a rock ‘n’ roll revival next weekend at Abbotsford Arts Centre.

The company is staging a music, dance and theatre performance inspired by the songs of Elvis Presley.

Jailhouse Rock follows the story of renowned jailbird Johnny B. Goode from his prison cell block to the Las Vegas strip. Upon release, he finds himself caught in a love triangle between his one true love and the lure of Vegas’ top show girl. Johnny must decide who his heart truly belongs to before it’s too late. His journey is accompanied by more than two dozen Elvis hits, including Burning Love, Suspicious Minds, Viva Las Vegas, A Little Less Conversation and the title song Jailhouse Rock.

“There’s something in it for everyone,” said artistic director and choreographer Lee Kwidzinski. “It’s a high-energy show that will bring the audience on a real journey of emotions.”

Jailhouse Rock features 30 dancers from ModernLee Dance, Dance Works, and Aerial Dance and Acro Academy. The show incorporates a variety of styles, from jazz and contemporary to lyrical and hip-hop. It also stars international award-winning Elvis impersonator Ben “Preslee” Klein. His resume boasts numerous top five finishes in competitions around North America, including the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest by Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis, Tennessee.

ModernLee is a semi-professional dance company in Abbotsford whose mandate is to promote social change and raise funds for people in need.

“We like to show that dance can be used as an educational tool as well as have great entertainment value,” said Kwidzinski.

To date, the group has donated more than $20,000 to local and international non-profit organizations. Performances have supported Pleasant View Care Home programs in Mission, the rebuilding of an orphanage in Sri Lanka after the 2005 tsunami, and Red Cross relief in Haiti last year.

The 2007 production of Jailhouse Rock raised more than $5,000 for the Cedar Valley Lions Club’s Community Kids Project, an initiative helping local underprivileged children participate in extracurricular activities their parents couldn’t otherwise afford.

This year the production supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abbotsford, Mission and Ridge Meadows, as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Upper Fraser Valley.

The all-ages show runs Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. at Abbotsford Arts Centre (formerly the Abbey Arts Centre), located at 2329 Crescent Way.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for students at Kings Music, Jazz Ma Tazz and House of James. Performances are also scheduled on March 5 at the Chilliwack Arts and Cultural Centre, and March 12 at the Maple Ridge Arts Centre and Theatre.

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