Trainee with Paradosi Ballet in Tacoma, Washington
I have been a dancer for as long as I can remember. I always enjoyed it as a little girl, but I didn’t realize how much I loved to dance until I first came to A Time To Dance in 2012. When I started training at ATTD, I felt like millions of opportunities and possibilities opened up for me and my passion for it grew in leaps and bounds. From finally making friends to learning about my body, from being influenced greatly by my teachers to performing in my first Nutcracker, from going en pointe to getting to work with Lisa Howell, God has blessed me in countless ways through this studio. I have not only learned an immense amount about the wonderful people here, but I’ve also learned a lot about myself, who I want to be and who God created me to be. I have gained technical, artistic, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual training through ATTD and now feel prepared to test what I’ve learned in this next year. As a new Trainee of Paradosi Ballet Company, I will be dancing and ministering to the community of Tacoma, Washington for the 2016-2017 season. I have found much pleasure in dancing for myself throughout the years, but I have been filled with joy by dancing and worshipping Jesus. “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with instruments.” -Psalm 149:3
Thank you for being so patient with me and for all you’ve done!
Former dancer of Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada
The word that I’ve used to describe A Time To Dance is sanctuary. A safe place that makes you feel welcome and secure. I started dancing at ATTD when it first opened in the fall of 2011 and it filled a desperate need for good training, a healthy environment, and even the need for God centered thinking in dance. Taking classes at A Time To Dance and being a part of the family there broke down the barriers of perfectionism, self-criticism, low self esteem, and negativity that I had so long held in my life and replaced them with principles of God confidence, positive thinking, being others-centered, and seeing yourself truthfully with all the gifts that you’ve been given. Everyone at the studio is so genuinely kind and caring and I know that the friends that I’ve made there are those that will stick with me till the very end.
Beyond being a place of good morale and principals, A Time To Dance has also equipped me with training that is healthy, efficient, and constructive. The instructors there instill layers of technique and artistry into your dancing while teaching you how to work safely and correctly. They help you learn how to get the results you desire without going through extreme, injurious measures to get there. They care for your well-being, but at the same time they push you to limits that you thought were unachievable, and I know that that kind of training is what helped me enter the professional world of dance.
Now, as a professional dancer with Nevada Ballet Theatre, I look forward to returning to A Time To Dance because in a world that is often critical and abrasive, this studio is a sanctuary. I always feel so blessed when I walk through those doors and I know that God has worked through ATTD to teach me how I can be a blessing to my company. Thank you for the training, love, support, and prayers that you have given to me these past 6 years! I look forward to seeing all the welcoming faces of my friends and teachers again when I finish this next season.
Senior at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California
I see my dance journey in three distinct portions. The first ten years taught me how to love dance. The next two taught me specific skills that I would need like flexibility, turning, and jumping. The last five years which were spent at A Time To Dance, taught me how to refine. I was able to take my love for dance and the things I had learned, and become an artist. I not only learned what it meant to become an artist, but how much time and effort it takes to get there. Most weeks I would spend between 15 and 20 hours at the studio learning choreography, strengthening my core, and working on my technique. Although I would come home exhausted, there is nothing I would rather do, and no way I’d rather feel at the end of the day. Right know I don’t know where my dance training will take me, but I do know how to work hard towards a goal and how good it feels to achieve it.
Emma Rose Forbus
Professional 2 at the Houston Ballet Academy in Houston, Texas
I had the privilege of dancing at ATTD for about 5 years. When I think back to those years I have an overwhelming number of memories and emotions! ATTD was definitely a second home and a safe place for me. So much went on in those 5 years, and in the end, I am so thankful for every moment. At first, I was the only one in my class, but then month by month the studio started to fill up with new friends. What was so amazing was that the quality of instruction never diminished as the class sizes increased! I always received individual attention and personalized instruction. Alongside that, I will always treasure every relationship that I have at ATTD. As a 9 year old, I looked up to the older girls immensely. They were so kind and always there to lend advice. As I grew into a teenager, I realized that I was now a “big girl.” I tried to treat the younger girls the way that the older girls had treated me. God truly blessed ATTD with the sweetest dancers, and I love thinking back on all of the amazing friendships and memories. A low drama environment is definitely hard to find in the dance world, but ATTD was different. I was privileged enough to receive many special roles that incorporated acting and dancing. Without the knowledgeable coaching by the ATTD staff, I wouldn’t be the artist and performer that I am today. I absolutely adored taking part in outreach events as well as stage productions. ATTD provided me with so many opportunities ! We were all truly being trained to become confident performers. From the acting instruction, to the props , to the costumes, it was clear that nothing was ever just thrown together, but that much thought was put into each detail! Performances were always made fun and never stressful! I could write for hours about all that I learned at ATTD including the incredible training, to the amazing teachers, to the dance science knowledge, to the chill environment, but I must narrow it down. So here are a few things that stand out to me.
1. Give a gift:
Miss Holly always told us before shows that we were giving a gift to the audience. I loved how she would say that we had the opportunity to change someone’s life with our gift of dance.
2. How to follow God and sacrifice for others:
Miss Jeri always listened to the Lord and followed through to the best of her ability. She also sacrificed so much for everyone around her and never complained. I am trying to learn how to do that in my own life, but it is definitely hard!
3. How be responsible:
Miss Anna inspired me so much with her responsibility and professionalism. She always followed through with her word and was always eating healthy and taking care of herself. That really inspired me and still does, because now I’m living without my parents. I think about her example when I make decisions. She’s a true role model. I miss everyone at ATTD so much and I am so thankful for my time there!
Studio Company Member at Colorado Ballet in Denver, Colorado
Engineering Major at University of Colorado Boulder
Why this letter was so difficult to write is a mystery to me. I must have started at least 20 times, delaying submission for months with a cheerful “almost done!” or “just putting on the finishing touches!” It is certainly not difficult to write about the incredible dance instruction I’ve received over the past five years. Under the gentle, nurturing care of ATTD I became a more skilled and artistic dancer than I could have ever imagined. I have gained an astonishing level of bodily awareness, and direction on how to keep my body healthy not just as a dancer, but just as a person going through life. Every step of the process centered on being the best dancer I could be, within the limitations of my own body, and without ever having to push to the point of injury. I have been taught by world-class instructors and professionals in both the realm of dance as well as dance science and kinesiology. This is certainly not a challenge to write about. Nor is it a challenge to write about the wonderful people I have met and have grown with. I have built friendships I anticipate will be lifelong, met some people I am thoroughly convinced are secretly guardian angels, and been thoroughly loved and supported through the entire process. I have been both mentored by those wonderful dancers before me, and have in turn mentored those who came after. I learned how to lead, both by example and through experience. Talking about the spiritual journey I have undergone through dance, that is a bit more difficult. My whole life has been a journey to love and accept myself as a child of God and bless others with the gifts he has given me. Yet even that is not so difficult to put into words. Perhaps this letter was so challenging to write simply because there is too much to say. Several times I have tried to start writing, yet each time I find I have no idea where to even begin. I first met Ms. Jeri as a six-year old, aimlessly twirling around in her worship dance class. Since then she, Ms. Holly, Ms. Anna and all of the wonderful faculty and students have impacted my life in more ways than I can tell. At ATTD, I was coached in every way, both through the difficult journey of dancing en pointe, to working past the roadblock of my own self-criticism. I have been pushed to greater achievements than I ever would have imagined, while being gently nurtured and guided. At ATTD, I have had incredible teachers, leaders, mentors, and friends. I do not know where I will go with dance, or even if I will keep dancing (I am currently studying aerospace engineering, and while amazingly fun and rewarding, it is not kind to time-intensive hobbies). However, just as I cannot imagine having grown up without dance, I cannot imagine my life, or where I would be without ATTD. Though I could write more, I have read the letters from other alumni and realize I could not say it any better. All I can say now is thank you so much for all you have taught me, and for making the studio a second home.
Sophomore at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs
As a little three year old in pink tights and an oversized leotard, I only saw dancing as an outlet to let my smile shine and as a way to spend time with friends. I never could have imagined the places that dance has taken me and all of the numerous lessons I have learned. Being …with a Time to Dance even before the studio was even officially opened was one of life’s greatest blessings. Throughout the past few years, I have had the tremendous opportunity to not only meet some of the greatest people I know to this day, but I have had the chance to watch them grow up with me. Some of life greatest gifts have been given to me in the form of a ballet class. I have met some of the kindest and most caring people at a Time to Dance, that otherwise I never would have been introduced to. The aspects of caring and attention to detail are two things that set aside A Time to Dance from any other place I have been. Each instructor that I have had the honor of working under at A Time to Dance has never had anything less than only the best of intentions for not only me but for each student that walks through the door. I have never seen a team of people who have cared more about people’s emotional and physical well being, while producing amazing dancers in any other place that I have been. This journey of dance has not only taught me about responsibility, leadership, and astounding technique, but it has also taught me how to be accepting, how to be kind to everyone, and how to lead a life of impeccable integrity. I am forever grateful for how A Time to Dance has not only prepared me for the expansive world of dance, but for teaching me how to take each lesson I learned in a dance class and how to apply it to my every day life. There is so much sacrifice that goes into running a dance studio, and committing to being a part of the community, and for everyone that has been a part of this dance journey, I am eternally grateful for all the time, effort, and love you have poured into me, it will not soon be forgotten.
Trainee at Alonzo King Lines Ballet in San Francisco, California
As someone who came into the ballet world at a pretty late age, I believe God placed me at A Time To Dance at just the right time. I began dancing at the age of eight, but it wasn’t till I was almost fifteen that I started to pursue ballet. Starting ballet as a 14 year old was daunting. I spent those next five years “catching up” on everything I should have already known. By the time God brought me to A Time To Dance, I already knew all the names of steps and how I was supposed to execute them, however, what I was missing was the knowledge and the understanding of the mechanics behind the movements in ballet. To be able to know and understand how and why your body can and can’t do certain things has been the most valuable tool I have acquired. Not only did this knowledge improve my dancing, it also helped me change my perfectionist attitude toward dance. The teachers at A Time To Dance helped me learn how to look at my mistakes from a very logical angle and use my mistakes to help me grow instead of beating myself up. Outside of the classrooms at A Time To Dance, I fell in love with the community of dancers and appreciated how loving and welcoming each and every one of them was to me. Jeri welcomed me with open arms, and her staff, Holly Marble and Anna Bridge, have supported me this whole year. Through Nutcracker pains, audition season, and a recent injury, their constant support and knowledge has helped me emotionally, physically, and mentally. I am so grateful for my time at this studio, the friends I’ve made, and the knowledge I’ve gained. I know I will carry these with me into these next years as I continue to pursue at the Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program.
Apprentice at Elements Contemporary Ballet in Chicago, Illinois
“I was searching for a dance studio that consisted of strong technique, but also that had a welcoming and supportive environment. Fortunately, I am blessed that I found and started dancing at ATTD. Even though I have only been dancing at ATTD for about six months, I learned a tremendous amount. I have grown a lot in technique at ATTD compared to other studios I have danced at because of the strong kinesiology foundation that ATTD provides. Along with the strong kinesiology foundation, I have also grown as an artist by ATTD
teaching me how to humbly perform every combination whether it was in the studio or on stage. In addition to the strong technique and artistry that ATTD provides, ATTD also provides a loving and supportive environment that allowed me to lots take risks and challenges to optimally become the dancer I strive to be. I cannot emphasize enough of how much I am blessed to be apart of this environment and I truly appreciate the opportunities that ATTD has given me” ~Skyler Sward