Dance is ALWAYS better with a Friend!
One of the best things I remember about my dance experiences growing up are the friendships I made. I spent so many hours at the dance studio honing my skills and diving into my passion. It was the only place where there were others who felt the same way I did about movement. It was a place where I could be accepted for who I was, no matter what. I could start my day over at the studio. If I had a rough day at school dance was a fresh start with a different group of people.
I still am very close with many of my dance friends today. Several of them have been there for me during the biggest events in my life. I still seek out mentorship from my own dance teacher (not many people know me better than she does) and we share memories and life regularly. Having people who have been with you from when you were young through adolescence, your first relationships, into adulthood and parenthood has created a sense of strength and acceptance in my journey through the arts.
I have asked some of our staff to share their experiences of friendships through dance as well.
I was very nervous my first day of summer school at Alberta Ballet. I didn't know any of the girls, and was very shy. After my first ballet class, however, I met a girl named Sarah. We chatted about how we had the same name (and spelled it the same!), and were both going to the same ballet school in the fall. Turns out we had other things in common, like both having cats, blonde hair, younger brothers by two years, and a secret love of video games! We became very good friends for the rest of the summer program, and continued building our friendship when we both started at the school of Alberta Ballet in the fall. We took the same classes for many years, and had the same passions about ballet and movement. We both loved the ballet 'Swan Lake', the excitement of auditions and exams, and the challenge of some of the choreography we were learning. Finally, we also shared the same professional goals of dancing professionally once we completed the program--a mutual passion that kept us motivated through the most challenging of times.
Once we both left the school and graduated high school, we stayed good friends over email and MSN messenger communication. Shortly after, I moved out to BC to study at University, and Sarah moved to Edmonton to go to University. Although we weren't aware of it right away, we both chose to study Psychology during our time at University, both developed an interest and passion in dance and academic Education, and both Sarah and I became elementary school teachers! Years later after I moved back to Calgary, Sarah and I finally connected over coffee. Sarah shared her positive experiences and her enjoyment of teaching at the APA studio in Airdrie, but alas how she was planning to move to British Columbia. Long story short, our mutual love and passion for dance, teaching and education led me to the opportunity to teach ballet at APA once Sarah moved to B.C.--an opportunity that has ultimately brought me to this place in time to write this story. In my experience, friendships that are created and nurtured through a dance environment are authentic and life changing. My friendship with Sarah proves to be an enduring connection to a past world that we once shared together, that was formed through mutual passion and love for the art form itself.
I grew up dancing 7 days a week and loved my team and all of my teachers. You grew to be best friends because you spent every waking moment with them. I had a great dance experience and built lifelong memories both in and outside the studio.
I remember my school friends asking me to go out all the time and they would always say "Wait let me guess...dance?" before I could even answer. I could never attend parties or gatherings with school friends because I had a commitment to dance and to my team. Do I regret this? Not one bit! Some of my favourite memories throughout my life have come back to dance memories and trips/getaways with my dance friends and teachers. It truly is a community that you immerse yourself in fully and it shapes your life and your relationships.
My friends and teachers then are still my friends now. We take dance classes and master classes when we can, I still see them in the dance world ALL the time! We meet individually for coffee when we are in the same town and try to arrange group get togethers. They are truly your best friends for life and I am always proud of the accomplishments they make in life and dance as they are for me. You build those strong friendships young and continue to grow them into adulthood. My dance friends are truly some of the deepest and most fulfilling friendships I have to this day!
Friendship is so important. We all seek it and value it. If you know someone who you would love to share the gift of dance with, don't be shy - Tell them about APA! We have a great referral program that the provides you both with a $50 credit to your account for each friend that you refer! Not only do you share great programming with them but you each get a gift from us! Now that is More Than Just Great Dancing! See you in the classroom.