Updated: Mar 29
There comes a time in every dancer's life when they realize that time is moving on, and try as they might there is no stopping the momentum. When you've danced a path of lines and extensions that have taken you from here to there, and many places in between; and waltzed down long and winding paths, you know that you are still dancing completely by His grace.
It seems appropriate to begin this blog series with an interview from one of the academy's first students way back in 1988. She was dedicated, joyful, hardworking, and brilliant. Those were charmed days for sure, and the studio was filled with talented students, many of who were Christian. They made a big impact on my life , and every student I've been privileged to teach over the last 30 years has blessed me beyond measure. Many of my dancers and their families became life-long friends. Let me introduce you to one of them - the ever-lovely, and oh-so-talented, Kathleen O'Neill Lalande...
NVAB: How old were you when you started dancing with the NVAB?
Kathleen: I can’t remember exactly but I think that I must’ve been around 11 or 12.
NVAB: How many years did you dance with the NVAB
Kathleen: 4-5 years. I stopped when I was 16.
NVAB: What made you start ballet? and what made you stay?
Kathleen: I had already begun studying ballet at another dance school in town but it moved to Winchester. I didn’t dance for about a year until the NVAB opened. I was so thrilled when it opened and my father signed me up right away.
I stayed because the teacher was amazing! Sadly, I had not learned very good technique at my first ballet school, so my first year at NVAB was spent diligently learning the proper technique for all of the basic dance moves. Karen was such an amazing and patient teacher and was one of the most positive people I had ever met.
NVAB: What is your favorite memory of your time at the NVAB?
Kathleen: My favorite memory is of the intensive summer camps when we would dance all day long in that hot studio. There was no air conditioning and we did not care because we were having so much fun and learning a lot. It was amazing how strong you became after just a few days.
NVAB: What do you miss the most?
Kathleen: I miss getting into the zone or “flow” where you are focused on the music and your body. You almost forget that time is passing.
I also miss my fellow students. It is was such a special moment when we were dancing beautifully together.
NVAB: How did ballet help you on your life's journey?
Kathleen: This is such a tough question because I feel that ballet has helped me in so many ways. It taught me discipline and grit. I had to work hard to get better. Thanks to ballet, I don’t get easily discouraged when faced with a challenge. Ballet also fostered a life long passion for the arts. My husband is a musician and we enjoy going to concerts and ballets as often as our busy lives allow us.
NVAB: What are you doing now?
Kathleen: I am a clinical psychologist and researcher in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
NVAB: What would your advice be to present and/or prospective parents and students?
Kathleen: I would advise them to be picky about choosing an excellent teacher who will give them a solid start with correct technique. It is also important for the teacher to be warm, approachable, and encouraging. I was very lucky to have found all of this at the NVAB.
NVAB: Is there anything else you think is imporrtant?
Kathleen: I also think it is important for girls and boys to learn in a dance school that does not put any pressure on them to fit a certain body image.
Thank you Kathleen for virtually stopping by from Canada, and for sharing your thoughts.
God Bless you and your family!
You can find Kathleen on her website: http://www.drlalande.com/