Q and A with our Dance Faculty – The Arts Connection
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Pearls of Wisdom
June 27, 2017
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School of Music Group Year End Show 2017
June 29, 2017

Q and A with our Dance Faculty

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This year we had so many great moments at The Arts Connection School of Dance culminating in this year's performance of The Lion King. Our teachers have been the driving force of the school all year and we want to thank the faculty who made this year such a great success. We unfortunately have to say goodbye to Miss Kristina as she moves to Arizona to be with her fiancé, but we are pleased to be welcoming back Miss Ashton, Miss Celina, Miss Ann-Marie and Miss Kara.

We asked our School of Dance instructors to answer a series of questions relating to their journey through this dance year. Take a look at their responses and see what drives them to be such great mentors for the kids!
 
The Arts Connection:
What has been your greatest accomplishment this year with your students?
Kristina Roper:
My greatest accomplishment this year with my students was having the children step out of their shell and really find their passion when they were dancing.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite part about teaching?
Kristina Roper:
My favourite part of teaching is getting the kids ready for and having them perform in the recital. I love when all of the children’s hard work is displayed for their friends and family and the sense of accomplishment the children feel.

The Arts Connection:
What are some goals that you have for next year for returning students?
Kristina Roper:
My goal is that the students are able to expand on their performance quality allowing them to express more emotions through their dancing.

The Arts Connection:
What advice do you have for our dance students?
Kristina Roper:
My advice for the students is to always dance as a team, focusing on timing and using their peripheral vision to sense where the other dancers are.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite lion king song and why?
Kristina Roper:
“I just can’t wait to be king.” This is because my first lead role was as Zazu and I remember dancing to this song. I hope my students will connect with one of the songs and remember the joy they got from dancing to it.

The Arts Connection:
What excites you the most about teaching? Summer? A new year?
Kristina Roper:
I love when a student who has been struggling with one aspect of dancing finally gets it and feels the excitement of their accomplishment.

The Arts Connection:
What has been your greatest accomplishment this year with your students?
Ann-Marie Zak:
Perfecting some new skill.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite part about teaching?
Ann-Marie Zak:
Growing with the students and getting to be a part of their passions.

The Arts Connection:
What are some goals that you have for next year for returning students?
Ann-Marie Zak:
Work hard and become stronger!

The Arts Connection:
What advice do you have for our dance students?
Ann-Marie Zak:
Find the story and the love of dance in everything you do, even if it’s just exercises in class.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite lion king song and why?
Ann-Marie Zak:
Hakunah Matata, because it’s a good philosophy to live by!

The Arts Connection:
What excites you the most about teaching? Summer? A new year?
Ann-Marie Zak: I’m excited for the new year to start! I can’t wait to get to do a full season with my classes!

The Arts Connection:
What has been your greatest accomplishment this year with your students?
Kara Robinson:
The ballet exams are typically the moment in the year where I feel the biggest sense of accomplishment with the ballet students. The dancers work so hard to develop their skills, pay attention to so many little details, and learn A LOT. It can be scary going into the dance studio in such a small group with a person they’ve never met (the examiner) sitting at the table analyzing their every move without their teachers in the room to coach them! They always come out of the studio smiling and feeling so proud! And I feel proud too, knowing I helped them reach that moment and help them feel so good about themselves!

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite part about teaching?
Kara Robinson:
Seeing the joy on the dancers faces when they accomplish a new step or when when “the lightbulb” goes on and I can see that they finally understand what I’ve been talking about! With the youngest kinder dancers, I think my favourite thing is to to see them finally learn how to gallop on both sides! This is a huge motor skill hurdle and it sometimes takes months to achieve. I love celebrating those moments of each child’s experience!!

The Arts Connection:
What are some goals that you have for next year for returning students?
Kara Robinson:
I’d like to have them dig deeper into their passion for dance. Find new ways to push themselves to the next level. Whether that means taking a ballet exam, joining competitions, or just having individual goals like achieving their splits

The Arts Connection:
What advice do you have for our dance students (pick a topic.... flexibility, improving, passion, remembering choreo etc)
Kara Robinson:
My advice for my students would be to pick a goal and make a plan. If you want to increase your flexibility, make a stretching plan chart and reward yourself for achieving milestones. If you want to be an overall better dancer, find a way to take more ballet classes! Developing your ballet technique will strengthen all your other skills in all the other styles.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite lion king song and why?
Kara Robinson:
I think maybe Circle of Life. It’s so powerful and the idea of part of our lives continuing through our ancestors is kind of heartwarming to me!

The Arts Connection:
What excites you the most about teaching? Summer? A new year?
Kara Robinson:
I get excited about introducing new steps. I love seeing students grow up in front of my eyes and showing them how to grow and develop into a stronger dancer.
I’m excited for spending time with my family this summer. My daughter is 3.5 years old now and I think we are going to have a lot of exciting memories being made over the next couple of months!
For the new school year, I’m excited about the prospect of our new Junior competitive ballet and tap classes as well as our senior ballet competition class. These are all new to the schedule and I’m hopeful that we will have enough families interested in these opportunities where we can share the joy of dance together and expand the competitive program!

The Arts Connection:
What has been your greatest accomplishment this year with your students?
Ashton Kelbert:
My greatest accomplishment this year with my students has been helping them prepare for a successful exam.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite part about teaching?
Ashton Kelbert:
My favourite part about teaching, is sharing the love of dance with my students. When I see my students expressing their love for dance, I know that I am achieving my goal.

The Arts Connection:
What advice do you have for our dance student?
Ashton Kelbert:
Some advice I would like to give to my students, is the importance of flexibility vs. strength. As a dancer you need the strength to create movements, but you also need the flexibility to achieve the perfect lines of those movements. It is key to find the perfect balance between both.

The Arts Connection:
What excites you the most about teaching? Summer? A new year?
Ashton Kelbert:
What excites me the most about teaching, is seeing the joy and happiness my students receive from my dance classes.

The Arts Connection:
What has been your greatest accomplishment this year with your students?
Alexandra Clancy:
Seeing the students passion for dance grow; they now enjoy and initiate the process of setting goals, constantly working hard, and then accomplishing these goals that they are passionate about.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite part about teaching?
Alexandra Clancy:
The absolute love and joy on a students face when they finally get a step they have been working hard on, or come off stage and are beaming from adrenaline and facing a fear, or when they get to be creative and express themselves in pure bliss. I love sharing my love of dance, and then seeing my students enjoy the amazing gifts that dance offers, as much as I do. I am passionate about sharing skills through dance that the students can take with them in dance and more importantly, in life.

The Arts Connection:
What are some goals that you have for next year for returning students?
Alexandra Clancy:
To work on developing stronger technique, especially turnout and flexibility! As well as improving performance skills and truly emoting and being fully engaged and passionate on stage. I hope that the team will commit to putting in the time and energy it takes to become better dancers and that we can all grow stronger and grow together.

The Arts Connection:
What advice do you have for our dance students?
Alexandra Clancy:
Energy and time put in equals energy and time out. If you put in the hard work and dedication, the drive and passion, you will always be rewarded. Any goal can be accomplished with a positive attitude and a commitment to work at it every day! I believe that every single student at this studio has the capability of being a phenomenal dancer, and I will be there to support every single one. It is ultimately your choice how hard you want to work, how much more flexible you want to get, how many turns you can do, etc. And when you make that choice to work hard at something you love, there is no greater feeling.

The Arts Connection:
What’s your favourite lion king song and why?
Alexandra Clancy:
Shadowland – from the Lion King Broadway. This song conveys deep passion in both the music and the voices. The lyrics and the instrumental make you feel something, the song continuously builds and tells a story, and it feels amazing to dance to!

The Arts Connection:
What excites you the most about teaching? Summer? A new year?
Alexandra Clancy:
I am constantly grateful that I get to do and share what I love with so many eager and talented students! I am looking forward to a new year of setting goals, creating and choreographing, and another year of getting to dance and grow together.
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