Chester Valley Dance Academy is proud to offer students with not only quality dance training at the studio, but also the opportunity to travel and participate in conventions, competitions, and master classes. CVDA Dancer Ally shares her recent experience at Dance Excellence where she participated in a Performance Workshop run by the Young Americans:
There are truly no words that can describe my Dance Excellence experience. The festival was not only about growing as a dancer but was just as much, if not more, focused on growing as a person and finding yourself. Dance Excellence was like no other convention or competition I have ever been to before. Instead of competing with one another or showing off to the Master Teacher, everyone there was eager to connect and support each other. The constant positivity and support that radiated throughout every person there was indescribable. Every teacher that taught class only wanted us all to dance from our hearts and not care at all about any fear of judgment from others.
During the three days that we took classes from all the wonderful Master Teachers, I can honestly say that I had never been in a dance environment outside of CVDA where I felt completely calm and present in the moment. Dance Excellence showed me how to truly dance from my heart, and I will always cherish the feeling I had when I first realized what that felt like. Another thing that truly amazed me about Dance Excellence was how the diversity of the entire class only made our connections with each other stronger. I am still fascinated that dancers from all across the globe had all traveled to California to be in one ballroom together, doing what we love and living the amazing experience alongside one another.
The last class of the three-day convention was titled “Performance”. None of us really knew what to expect going in, so we went into the class with an open mind, hoping for a good class to end the three days of classes. Within the first 10 minutes into the class, my eyes were filled with tears. Bill and Robyn Brawley, the teachers of the class, had all of the students sing A Million Dreams together, led by the Young Americans. The energy and connections I felt in the room as we sang were indescribable.
So much love was being poured out from everyone and I felt it so powerfully that it brought me and the rest of the CVDA dancers to tears for the entire class. I have always loved the Greatest Showman and its soundtrack, but when I got the opportunity to sing and dance to those songs that I had heard many many times before, the lyrics brought me new emotions that I had never previously felt when listening. I was picked by one of the Young Americans to sing a line from A Million Dreams as a solo and I was initially terrified. I knew that everyone would be watching and listening to me, and singing was something that I had always been afraid to do in public. As I sang my solo line, I felt nothing but joy, gratitude, and most importantly, love. A kind Young American held my hand as I sang and gave me a huge hug once I finished, telling me how proud she was of me. Hearing all those voices tell me how well I did as I sang, something that I would normally be mortified to do in front of 400 people, the approximate amount of people that heard me sing in the ballroom at Dance Ex, made me think one specific thought to myself; If all those people believed in me and knew I could do it, why couldn’t I believe in myself? This one-hour Performance Class turned into so much more than an average dance class at an international dance festival. It truly taught me to follow my heart and love who I am.
I am so grateful that I was able to experience Dance Excellence with Miss Cathy, Miss Kim, and the eighteen other CVDA dancers. They were truly the best group of supporters and friends, and I know that our group’s bond will only grow stronger from here. Looking back, Dance Excellence was truly the best week of my life, and I will cherish the skills and knowledge that all the teachers and students taught me for many years to come.
~ Ally Waitte