This question was posed to me this morning on my Alignable account. What a great question. I really had to go back and think about it. 31 Years has brought a lot of amazing stories and adventures, but how did it begin? Here is what I wrote…
My first dance student was the result of a program that was no longer offered at the studio that I was teaching at. I was given five students to teach on my own. I taught in the living room of my town house for a year, and thought I would open a location in another community that was close to where I was living. I also decided to open a location that was away from the busy city scene, and went to a rural area to find a space. I had an open house in the town hall and had about 10 students sign up. I then rented a little space over top of a sailboat warehouse that had a patch of linoleum in the center of carpet. We started there. The warehouse burnt down in the third month and I could not locate space anywhere in town so one of the parents offered their basement for the rest of the season. The city location never opened. I had two recitals that year and finished with 22 students.
What makes the story even more interesting is what evolved over time that links to this initial adventure. After opening my first studio in Cochrane, Alberta. I also taught the children of my first students. Several of them in fact, at the Montessori Preschool Dance and Music Program that I ran. The beautiful soul that allowed me to use her basement for a year became a colleague for a conference in another town almost 20 years later, and we have stayed connected across Facebook with her daughter and grandson as well. One of my adult students from that first year had a nephew that I had taught in the studio I was at before I opened for myself. He grew up to become a Tap dancer, and became the mentor for my son and his tap career. They have worked together professionally at the 2010 Olympics, on a show he ran and my son performed in, and now they are both choreographing for the Canadian Tap Dance Team going to Germany – one for the Western team and one for the Eastern team.
Many other students from that first year and beyond were part of our performing groups through the 90’s and 2000’s. Many of them have children of their own now that are dancing and continuing that passion for dance. Many became dance teachers, teachers, or work in the health and wellness industry. One “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is now a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and a Doula, another student has performed in Circus shows as a silk and hoop artist. It is so interesting. With many students connected with me on facebook I am able to keep up with all of their successes and adventures.
As I said on one of my bookmarks for my Children’s story: “Stacey on the Keyboard” published for my dancers on my 40th Birthday, “You Make Great Friends in Dance Shoes”.
This summer I spent three different occasions with a dear dance friend whom I sat next to on the bench waiting to compete against each other at Highland Dance competitions. We traded who would win first and second, and who would take home a trophy. We have had many adventures together, but to attend the Somatic Dance and Science Convention in New York this summer was a true gift, and then have her come here to study Stepdance in Cape Breton for a week with her daughter.
Such a simple question this morning, “where did I get my first dance student?” The better question: “Where did that first dance student take me?” What a gorgeous adventure!