My CVDA Experience: From Little Brother to Inspiring Others

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.  The studio produces an annual Senior Showcase that gives the graduating class an opportunity to showcase their talent and have the spotlight to celebrate their years with CVDA. Senior Max Kates reflects on his time at CVDA.

Max at one of his first performances.

I started dancing when I was 4 years old when I saw my older sister dancing. Looking back, I realized that because my sister was such a big part of the studio, I became known as the little brother to all of her friends. It really felt like everyone was just a big family. The classes above me included me in what felt like everything. So when they graduated, it was weird to imagine dancing without them in the background.

I always viewed myself as a younger sibling, but I eventually figured out where I fit in thanks to everyone involved at Chester Valley. The studio has been one of the few things in my life that has always been there. I could spend all night thanking each one of my teachers for everything they have done, but I'll try to keep it short. Ms. Kim is the sweetest teacher I could ever ask for. I saw how much she helped my sister, Mary Kate, and I knew I was in good hands. Ms. Rachel has always been willing to listen to all my crazy stories. I tell her almost everything, whether it is before class or in the middle of barre; she always listens. Ms. Corrine has been my tap teacher for so long; it's hard to think about dancing without her. From when I was this little ball of energy who couldn't keep his mouth shut to me now, I couldn't have asked for a better teacher.

Max with his sister MaryKate '19

There are so many other teachers who have made a huge impact on me and have helped shape me into who I am today, but there is one teacher who has been with me throughout my whole life, and that is Ms. Cathy. Ms. Cathy has always believed in me ever since I started dancing, and I cannot express how thankful I am for her and all the teachers who have worked at this studio for creating a family I cannot picture my life without.

Last year, I experienced something so gratifying that will stick with me forever. I had just finished dancing my Spanish-inspired tap dance, and after the show, I went to the lobby to find my family. A father of another dancer came up to me and said my performance was amazing. He was trying to get his son to dance, but his son kept saying that dancing is only for girls. After seeing me dance, his son thought he might try dancing now too, and his father thanked me for inspiring his son. This moment touched me deeply, and I felt so honored and thankful to have someone look up to me. I always looked up to other people, so knowing that I inspired someone else and encouraged them to try something new still makes me emotional. However, I could not have inspired that young boy without the studio and everyone who works there, or my family, especially my mom who has been there through it all and has shown me nothing but love and support. Thank you all so much for everything you have done for me. I truly would not be the man I am today without you.

~ Max Kates, Class of 2023

Senior Showcase Performance

Max performed a dance to "The Pearls" choreographed by Miss Kim Martin and Miss Tanina Urbanski

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