Choosing to go to study dance at Grant MacEwan University was one of the greatest choices I have ever made. I burst open my world view and showed me the possibilities of what my life could be….and what I had always dreamed of.
I came to the program with lots of physical ability but quite unrefined by dance standards. Over the first few months I noticed a real change in my coordination and physical confidence. Dance training is amazing for spinal alignment. I felt like a machine.
Over the first year people left the program. It is very challenging not only physically but also emotionally. Facing failures of the physical kind daily is very hard on the self esteem. Professional companies would come in and both inspire and humble me.
My biggest challenge was my need to prove that I was heterosexual or tough by lifting everyone over my head on stage. I would choose to jump as high as I could with very little regard for aesthetic in the air or landing. It was quite challenging for my very patient instructors. Watching my videos from then is difficult. :0)
One of my instructors, Heidi Bunting, was an incredible teacher. Proud of her time in New York she embodied much of the brashness of that culture. She was tough!…to say the least. If she liked you she could both be tougher and very supportive. We had a tumultuous relationship that I am most grateful for. Heidi planted some amazing seeds of professionalism and quality.
Heidi Bunting’s choreography was incredibly fast, challenging and mostly over my head…but she was kind enough to allow me to stay in her dance pieces for year end shows. What I loved most about working with her is that she worked with my strengths. This allowed me a confidence that I belonged even though I didn’t have nearly the training as the rest of the dancers.
Heidi lived in Hinton, Alberta and had a ballet school there. At the end of the first year Heidi was putting on a production of Coppelia and needed a male for the role of Franz. There were 3 men in our program and I was the last to be offered the opportunity and luckily was available.
It was a great chance to train further with this great teacher. I lived in her home and trained at her school with her students. It was very challenging as we both have strong personalities but it was a great experience over all.
Then I went fishing for the summer which was fun. A good change from all the seriousness. I returned to Edmonton in August to do an intensive with one of my favourite dance companies, Dance Makers. The company were skilled, fun and really nice people. Truly inspiring.
Then second year began….