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The Greatest Gift... my dance teacher

The Greatest Gift. …my dance teacher, Anne Stephen. “Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops.” -Henry Brooks

Dance has been a part of my life since I was two years old. In the early stages it was a fun activity, that blossomed into a full life passion, which then became my refuge from life’s storms; transforming into my very own, “happiest place on earth.” Dance for as long as I can remember has always been my only desired career choice. It is also what led me to meet my best friend/husband of 10 years. The art of dance is as much a part of me and who I am, as I have ten dancing toes on my feet. When I think back on experiences; my greatest gift was the most special dance teacher, Anne Stephen. None of the above mentioned would have ever been possible without her, she was a constant driving force in my youth, my dance training, my upbringing; an inspiration to say the least, as she enabled a path and journey for myself. She was one of my very first dance teachers, and she became more like a second mother, she was nicknamed, “Mother Pumpkin,” because we were, “pumpkins,” to her. Her knowledge, goals, and high hopes on how to help the dancers in our small community led her to establish and open her very own dance studio, Danceability. Seeing her pursue her dreams, as Danceability opened it’s doors, was magical to say the least, as she had set goals, and we all were a part of this growth and change. I had my first teaching opportunity at age sixteen, at Danceability, when she opened it’s doors. She created the most special dance home to us all, I felt so honoured to have been a small part of it.

I am writing to share with you my sincere thoughts, since loosing Anne a few months ago. It’s never easy loosing someone you love, admire, even more when that person has touched your life deeply, and made such an impact. I get emotional when I think of her, and my thoughts go to, “does she know how much I loved her…who would I be today without her, and where would I be?” This is my reminder to never underestimate the power, significance that your dance teacher can have on your life, if not immediate, you will likely feel the affect years after that seed has been planted, and you’ve been inspired in one way or another - in a way only a teacher can - through PASSION. Whether you pursue a career in the art form or not, recreation or maybe more, your dance teacher has the ability to tap into key important ingredients that lead to an overall successful, and goal oriented life. Never miss an opportunity to ‘thank’ those selfless leaders, who love fiercely and give generously of their time, and who do all and more through the medium and art we call dance. I will be forever grateful to you, Anne Stephen, for being that teacher, friend to me, forever loving mother pumpkin to us all, for opening my heart to the potential, the possibilities of all and more that dance has been, is, and will continue to be. Words cannot describe the ache I feel for knowing you are no longer on this earth, the memories and the gratitude felt in my soul to have been one of your students I carry with me forever. Dance truly connects us all, this art form of human connection, expression and the remarkable life lessons we learn and share through dance can be life changing, if and when we allow it, and for this I am forever grateful. There are so many benefits to this beautiful, stunning art of dance… the list is never ending, but my thoughts and feelings are that quite possibly the greatest among them are the teachers we meet along the way. For myself, I believe this to be true.

Thanks for listening, Christina Wladimirov

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