Instructors and coaches are often athletes, too, teaching their young charges while also continuing to hone their own skills developed over many years.
And most often it’s a labour of love.
That’s been true for dance instructor Allison Dalziel, known to her students as Miss Allie, who recently decided to hang up her dance shoes. She is retiring from JJ Dance and Performing Arts Studio, where she spent the last eight years teacing, this year.
Dalziel began dancing at the age of five and then became a competitive dancer after joining The Dance Centre where she and Jennifer Johns-Main and Melanie Carnduff became dance friends for life. Dalziel also took part in gymnastics and hockey but fell back in love with her childhood passion of dance.
When her former duet partner, Jennifer Johns-Main, opened her own studio, Dalziel said she jumped at the chance to be a part of the dance world as an instructor.
“I started by helping out with the tiniest dancers on Saturday mornings, working side by side with Jennifer. At the time of my retirement, I was teaching six days a week,” she said. “My favourite class to teach was tap and even though I am hanging up my shoes, so to speak, I will never turn down an opportunity to wear my cherished ruby red tap shoes,”
Her favourite part of being a dance instructor was when her students were successful in learning a new dance step. “I will always remember the joy I felt when a student finally got a step they had been working on. I never turned down the chance to cheer out loud and give a well-deserved high five.”
Her most memorable moments were the studio production performances. “I am most proud of the production routines we worked on as an entire team,” she said. Winning an award with Johns-Main for choreography at the LUV2Dance Nationals was a highlight of her dance career.
Dalziel has also had the opportunity to witness her son, William Demaine’s, growth as a dancer at JJ Dance. “He has out-performed me in every aspect of his competitive dancing. It makes me proud to have a son who challenges stereotypes and works hard to hone his craft. Maybe one day, he will follow in my footsteps and give back to the world of dance by becoming a teacher,” she said. “Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I can help him hone his skills and learn the ins and out of the audition process for theatre productions.”
Earlier this year when Dalziel made the difficult decision to retire, the studio put together a good-bye send off with a parade comprised of studio staff and students, a gesture that filled her with joy.
So what’s next for Dalziel? She has decided to focus her creative energy on her second passion: writing children’s books.
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