TEAM CANADA: A Parent’s Perspective By Darla Isfeld

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TEAM CANADA- A Parents Perspective By Darla Isfeld

http://www.teamcanadadance.com

AUDITIONS ON JUNE 23rd 2013!

As I reflect on my experience as a parent who’s child is a member of the Canadian National dance team, I’d never dreamed that this would become as much of an adventure for myself as it was for my daughter!

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Team Canada 2012- Germany Team

From the minute Katheryn’s letter of acceptance to the team arrived, we were thrown into a whirlwind of excitement. Getting ready to compete at the dance world’s version of the Olympics is no small feat. Putting together the best dancers from different studios who, for the most part, didn’t know one another except on a competitive level, could have been risky. But,there is no “I” in team, so ego’s were left at the door & everyone came together with a common goal. There were only 2 months to get everything  perfect, and it takes an extremely dedicated  group of choreographers, dancers, parents, volunteers, & seamstress’s to pull it off! Once rehearsals began, my iPhone lit up with a constant stream of emails & messages and it seemed like we were constantly planning, fundraising, or driving. My hat went off to the parents that drove to each practice from as far away as Chilliwack, as I was one of the lucky one’s who lived only 5 minutes away from the rehearsal studio.
As the departure date for Frankfurt drew closer, I began to observe bond’s forming amongst the dancer’s. I think it was around the time that the team jacket’s arrived and were donned that something seemed to “click”. No longer were they representing their own studio, they were representing Canada!
We drew a lot of attention at the airport in our maple leaf jacket’s. Many curious people asked us about the team and wished us good luck!

After a 10 hour flight to Germany (and a 10 hour time difference) there was no time for rest! The team had to compete first thing in the morning, and I admired how even though they were exhausted, they diligently practiced in the hotel parking lot for 2 hours!

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1st day at the IDO World Championships. Performing Choreography by Joshua Beamish of Move the company.

Before the sun rose the next day, the bus left for the arena, and the kid’s broke into a spontaneous version of “Oh Canada”. Little did they know that our anthem would be played 16 times during the upcoming competition as they danced their way to the top spot on the podium.

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IDO Ceremony- 23 countries present

The International dance organization put on a fabulous, well planned event. With 1500 dancers from 23 countries, the competition took place at the Fraport Arena, a five thousand seat basketball venue which they divided into half for the competition and half for rehearsal space. I remember fondly how we parents decorated our sitting area each morning with Canadian flags. As we sat together through those long days, we too formed a lasting bond as we laughed, cried, hugged, & cheered till we were hoarse. The stress and anticipation was felt by all as we anxiously awaited to hear if we had advanced to the next round, and what the final placings were. By the end of the competition, we were all a family, parents & children alike, brought together by our passion for dance.
It mattered not what studio we danced for at home, for during that week, Team Canada was a studio in itself.
I witnessed barriers broken unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in the lower mainland dance community, and I feel we are all better for it.

The pride I felt watching Katheryn on the podium while our anthem played and flag was raised was something I could never put a monetary value on- for it was priceless! Seeing her walk in the parade of nations amongst dancers from all over the world, I realized how lucky she was to have been chosen for this opportunity. It made every penny spent and every bit of effort worth it.

In closing, my thoughts return to an email sent to us from Team Director Bonnie Dyer on the eve of our departure to Germany. She wrote: ” A true champion is someone who is gracious if they win, and even more gracious if they do not. In years to come, medals & trophies will be misplaced, but the memories of your journey of training to dance on the world stage, meeting new friends, striving to do your best and being proud to represent your country- these are the memories you will carry with you forever”.
I think that says it all.

Darla Isfeld

Blog made possible by http://www.daniellelgardner.com, http://www.teamcanadadance.com,Key West Ford and Impact Dance Productions.

Follow us on Twitter: @IMPACTDancePro

MOE BRODY- MY JOURNEY WITH HARBOUR DANCE CENTER

MOE BRODY: Owner of Vancouvers Hottest Dance Centre

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After finishing her degree in Human Kinetics at UBC, Moe returned to dance with the NBA Grizzlies Extreme Dance Team and then choreographed the CFL’s BC Felions and the creator of UBC’s Dance Team. She has done movies with Hayden Panetteire called I Love You Beth Cooper, for Ashanti and Brittany Snow in the movie John tucker Must Die, Dr. Doolittle 3 and Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief. She’s done commercials for McDonalds, Barbie, Kyocere, Coca-Cola and Disney. She is also on faculty with The Source, Rise, Danzemode, Groovestreet Productions and Broadway Bound International. As an adjudicator at dance competitions, she derives much satisfaction dispensing helpful advice which she hopes will inspire future dancers. She is co-owner of Harbour Dance Centre in downtown Vancouver where her favorite place to be is in class, sharing a good story or two.

Please enjoy her amazing journey and know its never to late to do what you love!

MOE BRODY- MY JOURNEY WITH HARBOUR DANCE CENTER

How did I become one of the owner’s of Harbour Dance Centre? I have to take you way, way back. It was a long journey, but a great one.

In grade 8, my dance teacher shut down her studio. I found out she started teaching for some friends of hers that had opened a new adult studio. What was it called? Harbour Dance Centre? Never heard of it. I took class from four amazing women: my teacher, Valerie Easton, Belinda Sobie, and the two owners, Pam Rosa and Danielle Clifford. Now you’d think I would have found this haven and never left right? Haven’t you heard of a thing called High School? The drama, fitting in, new friends…yup, they pulled me out of dance and into some excess pounds on my thighs. I stayed at Harbour until about grade 10, then it was bye-bye dance.

My teenage years were hard. I moved out of my mother’s home in grade 12 with no money but a lot of drive to work. I went to UBC with four courses on my plate and three jobs to pay for it all. Dance wasn’t even on my radar. However, it was all I knew. I had no relation to any other passion in my life. Because of this I studied Kinesiology; anything to relate to the body. We analyzed the momentum of a baseball swing or the anatomy breakdown of a basketball free throw….but no one liked my idea of the velocity of a pirouette. Dance was still in me, just way down deep. After graduation, I got a job in Sports Marketing for a new sports franchise in Vancouver (The Vancouver Voodoo Roller Hockey Team). It was here that things took a turn. The President of the (Vancouver Voodoo Roller Hockey) Team suggested we get a Dance Team, some sexy girls to fill the arena. He asked me to do some research on how much this would cost. He and I were shocked to find out how much dance choreographers actually charged. (I had no idea. Like really, no idea). He then said, “Moe, isn’t dance your thing? You’re on salary, this us one of your new tasks in your job description. Get on it!” I panicked. I was now 24 years old and hadn’t really danced in 9 years. I knew how to do the six-step prep for a clean double pirouette, and that about summed it up. Crap! What was I going to do? Wait, Harbour Dance… I wondered if that place is still open. What? Belinda is still teaching? I better get back into class!

With the same dance attire that I left with, parachute shorts, leg warmers, ripped flashdance t-shirt, I put it back on! She gave us a thrashy jazz combo, and I was in heaven. Everything felt so natural, so easy. Why did I ever leave this? In between groups, Belinda stopped the music and walked over to my spot. She got right up to me, face to face and said…..”Moe……you still got it. Where have you been?” Let the bawl-fest begin. Between the tears and the sweat, I left so dehydrated you’d think I was in the desert.

The Dance Team audition went well. Some old familiar faces came through, Joanne Pesusich, Laura Bartlet, Lisa Stevens, Sandi Croft….the old “young” Harbour gang. At the same time, Joanne was planning her move to L.A and had some studio teaching hours to give up. She asked me if I wanted to teach dance. Me? I didn’t know anything except what I learned in the 70’s and early 80’s. She assured me nothing much had changed. So back to Harbour I went to get into ballet and jazz class (as well as some new dance style called hip hop, funny right? )

Since you’ve read my novel, you know my history with Harbour Dance Centre. When I started back up in dance in the mid 90’s, I knew this place was something special. In 2009, Danielle was thinking of retiring. In 2010, it became a discussion. In 2011, it became a reality. Again, I am one lucky girl. The place that gave me my passion back is now something I can call mine.

Special thanks to this weeks guest blogger Moe Brody of Harbour Dance Centre.

Blog made possible by: www.harbourdance.com, www.daniellelgardner.com & Impact Dance Productions

Follow us on Twitter: @IMPACTDancePro / @daniigardner 

Confessions from an Audition by Alexandra Crenian

This Tuesday  Impact Dance Productions is featuring a blog post by Toronto based dancer and choreographer Alexandra Crenian! She has worked in the dance industry for many years and has great knowledge of the audition process. Alexandra crushes her competition by not only being fierce but also by being humble, which has lead her to perform with idols such as the one and only Lady Gaga!

Confessions from an Audition by Alexandra Crenian

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Let’s start with what happened…I walked in the door to the theatre and immediately asked one of the auditionees, “Could you tell me what room the casting is in?”  The Auditionee looked me up and down, put her hand on her hip, scoffed loudly and walked away, laughing (she was muttering some sort of rude sentence that I can’t even remember.)  Luckily, a happier, more polite human being showed me the correct room.  I can only assume that she thought I was a ‘competitor.’  Unfortunately for her, I was not only on the casting panel, I was also the choreographer.  Not only was it incredibly embarrassing for her when she realized her error, it was uncomfortable for everyone in the room who witnessed it.  Needless to say, she didn’t get the part.

        If that auditionee had truly believed in herself, she wouldn’t have felt the need to be rude, nor the need to compare herself to a stranger.  She had demonstrated a form of bullying to psych out her competition.  Not only can a bad attitude ruin your opportunities before you even get in the audition room, but it simultaneously lowers your own self-esteem.  There is no need to compare yourself to anyone else.  Chances are, even if you don’t book that particular job, you will at some point book something with other people in that very room.  If you are rude to everyone, no one will want to work alongside you.  When a person is hired for a job, they spend 8 or more hours a day with the same people.  No person would knowingly hire anyone who brings an air of negativity with them, that energy is contagious. It brings down the group.

How can a performer (or anyone) help themselves from becoming bitter and negative in professional situations? Work on yourself.  Don’t compare yourself to others, there are many qualified, talented people out there… someone else’s talent doesn’t discredit yours.  Truly confident, happy people are more willing to help others, collaborate and keep a positive energy in the room.  It’s such a small world, chances are if a person is hired once and represents themselves professionally, with a great attitude, they will continue to be hired by the same choreographer/director.  The goal shouldn’t be booking the one job, it should be creating a professional relationship by showcasing yourself and how you treat others well.  Thus ensuring you will be rehired in the future.  It is also important to realize, you never know who anyone is or who they’ll become: don’t judge them.  Most of the time, we aren’t aware of anyone’s story but our own.  The reality is everyone has had, or will have, multiple difficulties in their lifetime.  To feel like the universe owes you something because you’ve had a hard time will lead to disappointment.  Preparation, research and hard work is the key.  There is no short-cut.  The person you are competing against for a role today may end up being a person that hires you tomorrow, or vice versa.  Kindness and honesty is rare, but is very much appreciated and remembered.

Have hobbies outside of your career, when your art form becomes your income, you’ll need other outlets.  Reading, knitting, sewing, yoga, playing a musical instrument, writing… all of these are examples of  creative outlets that leave you feeling accomplished.  Staying committed to your goals, no matter how small (i.e. setting your alarm for a certain time, and actually waking up at that time) build your self confidence.  A personal favourite of mine, is to make lists: lists of goals, short and long term, grocery lists, to do lists.  The small act of crossing off what I’ve accomplished leaves me feeling exactly that, accomplished.

        The next time you’re at an audition, know that the only thing you have control over is yourself.  Your actions define who you are, how you feel about yourself, and how you regard others.  Remember the reason you love what you do and that we are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to do it.

Blog made possible by Danielle Gardner, Impact Dance Productions and Alexandra Crenien.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @IMPACTDancePro

http://www.daniellelgardner.com