EDUCATION | student voice

Top 3 Things I Love about dancing in Vancouver

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Dancing, it’s been at the centre of my life always. After I danced at my ballet studio in Japan, I had the chance to go to the United States to study in high school and dance. The reason why I decided to go abroad was mostly because of dancing. After 6 years of dancing ballet in the United States, I decided to go to the Arts Umbrella dance school which is in a partnership with Vancouver Community College. So, let me tell you 3 unique reasons why I love dancing in Vancouver.

1. Physical and mental healing in Vancouver

At Arts Umbrella, we dance about 8 to 12 hours everyday, and Sunday is the only day we have off. It is tough for our bodies, but also our brain gets exhausted. Picking up choreography as fast as we can, discovering new ideas to improve ourselves and how quick your body can respond to your brain. So here it is Vancouver. There is great nature, food and weather that helps me to recover from tough days. On a day off, I love spending time sitting under the sun and eating fresh BC grown fruits and vegetables. Also, there are a lot of places that help you stay active within other forms in Vancouver. These include going to a gym, taking a Yoga class, and going for hiking. Vancouver is a great source for healing from both physical and mental exhaustion.

During a vacation, it is very easy to access North Vancouver, which is my favourite place to visit, and for going hiking with my friends. There’s so much nature that gives me energy and its so refreshing. Spending time with friends is always great idea. At dance, because we spend all day dancing together, we built a great relationship. Even though we spend all day together inside of the studio without talking much, spending time outside of the studio feels completely different. It is always great for us to talk about what we feel about things we do. Because there are so many ways to heal ourselves, I enjoy dancing in Vancouver.

2. Performance experience

Photo taken by Rachel Neville

In a year, there are a lot of opportunities to perform on stage. It is definitely a special moment for dancers. All of our rehearsals and classes are there for performances and it is totally a different feeling than practicing in the studio. Although we feel full of satisfaction after the performance, that is not the end of our story. The reaction of the audience helps us keep going, and that is the starting point for the next performance. Dancing on stage requires a lot of concentration and different skills compared to rehearsing in the studio space. There’s so much to learn from it and every minute is valuable in the theatre. It is special  way of learning that not many people get to do. Also many people are involved in the process of performance such as teachers, costume designers, lighting designers, stage managers, etc. There’s an infinite number of people who relate to the performing process. Even the audience. The atmosphere changes a lot when people are watching. They are the part of our creation process, and we all build the performance together. All of this make us feel like a team, and the feeling I get from performance is hard to express in words. All of these experiences keep us going and it is how we grow as dancers.

3. Perspective from an audience member

Dancers do not only dance, but also see the other dancers and support their work. There are numerous shows out there in Vancouver. Also, there are many different styles of dancing. It is one of our jobs to support the art as a dancer. And of course we always get to learn from it and get inspired by other dancers. But not only dancers who can support the dance. I was surprised that people in Canada are supportive and always interested in seeing the dance performances. You might not know so much about dance, but I believe dance attaches and resonates in our hearts. At least that is how I feel when I watch amazing dancers. I think that is why people keep coming back to watch performances. In that way, Art and Canada relates a lot and they support each other very well. The art is familiar for people and it is part of their life. I found this relationship very fascinating and beautiful. This is one of the reason why I love dancing in Vancouver. Because it is less common to see performances in Japan, there is more distance between dancers and people who aren’t dancers. The art is definitely closer to people in Canada, I enjoy dancing in Vancouver.

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