Updated: Mar 29
DancingbyHisgrace Blog #3
The Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet is something that happened because my parents exposed me to the arts at a very young age, believed in me, and supported my dreams as they grew. When the NVAB came into existence in 1987 it so happened that I was 6 years away from meeting and marrying my husband, and 7 years away from giving birth to my first child. Having the studio allowed me to bring my babies to work with me which was a true blessing. All the years they spent in my arms, the arms of other moms, a bouncy seat or swing at the front of the classroom always made me say that they would grow up thinking the world danced for them!
And so it was for many families when I reflect on the decades of teaching here in Front Royal. So many families started off with their oldest child in ballet, and their families grew up in the studio too. For me the studio wasn’t ever about having a “Business” for business sake, it was about making a difference, and making connections that have stood the test of time.
One such connection is the lovely Camille “Millie” Gibson who grew up alongside my children running through the halls and fields of the once-upon-a-time Rivendell club where so many memories were made. Camille is my older daughter’s age, but she and my youngest connected. Maybe it was because they both had a flair for the dramatic, and they were both the “babies” of their families. Together they danced, played, and grew to have a love for singing. While both initially pursued careers in theater and voice, Camille is the only one who decided to call it her vocation.
She is smart, and funny, beautiful, and her mama would say a bit sassy… all of this serves her well in her life in NYC. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the amazingly talented, and oh so beautiful, Millie Gibson…
What is your earliest memory of the NVAB, and how old were you when you started?
Taking part in the NVAB’s production of The Nutcracker. I believe that I was 11 years old.
Do you have a favorite dance or memory from the NVAB?
I do remember one of my favorite dances - it was in my last Spring Recital called “Sounds of Spring” I believe, and we wore lovely Spring Green Romantic tutus. We danced to the beautiful Waltz from Sleeping Beauty and wore flowers in our hair while dancing with an arc of flowers above our heads. It was quite an athletic piece!
How did dancing at the NVAB help you as you pursued your music career?
I believe that my dance training at the NVAB during grade school truly helped fuel my interest in music and performance. This strong interest of mine later turned into a goal and aspiration to major in voice by attending a music institution. There I received my Bachelor’s in Music Performance with a minor in Music Business. Later I moved to New York City to pursue my passion for music, and to work in the entertainment industry. I Believe with all my heart that without my love for dance, I don’t think that I would of accomplished nearly as much as I have, had I not been connected to, and mentored in, such an exceptional art form.
What are you doing musically right now, and how have you personally prepared for your career?
Currently I am in the process of creating and developing my own brand and sound as an artist/performer. Right now I am recording musical content that I have written within the last couple of years and plan to promote my first official music single this summer.
Your mama still dances with the NVAB in the Adult class, and every now and then when you’re home, you take class as well. How does it feel to come home and take with the NVAB on occasion?
It feels amazing! It has been quite a few years since I’ve taken a dance class so it honestly feels good to be a part of a class again where I’m receiving good and valuable ballet technique.
You live and work in greater NYC now – what are you doing dance wise in NYC?
I'm not currently taking any dance classes in the city as of now (dance classes in NYC are quite pricey) but I am planning to take dance classes again very soon and begin re-building my dance technique, and eventually incorporating dance back into my career as an artist.
How do you feel dance has influenced your life and career choice, or enhanced it?
Looking back to when I spent the majority of my childhood dancing, I feel as though my passion and love for dance only enhanced my connection through my creativity of music and performance. Dancing for me, personally inspired an interest in musical outlets such as singing in the school choirs, musicals, performing with bands and writing my own music. It was because of dance that I eventually made it my mission to have art and performance be the core component in my life.
You are an incredibly talented singer, and it’s such a joy to hear you perform. Where can we find you performing now? And what do you have on the horizon that we should be looking forward to?
Unfortunately, last Summer I received a severe head trauma injury when I was hit by a driver walking on Long Island. I have spent the last few months recovering from having post-concussion syndrome. Since then I’ve found myself wanting to connect more to the arts and music scene in the city versus performing just yet. I am however planning to release my first ever music single this coming July. I also hope to meet more instrumentalists and gain the opportunity to perform my music around the city, as well as including myself in various musical and performance projects in the city’s arts community.
What words of wisdom do you have for young children and teens as they pursue interests in dance and music?
My words of wisdom would be to follow what speaks to your heart. Whether you want to train to be a principal dancer or just include your interests for dance and/or music in your everyday life; pursue whatever interest brings you happiness and joy. Don’t be afraid to express yourself with your own art and become a voice that can ultimately be heard by others.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Something that you have found profoundly important for dancers and their parents to understand?
If it had not been for my mother and her love for the arts, I most likely would have never been as exposed to the arts and music nearly as early on in my childhood. It is because of her that a small seed of magic was planted. Little did I know that this seed would only grow into a proud tree full of leaves and branches and most importantly roots that held the tree together indefinitely.