Par­ents ap­pre­ci­ates lo­cal dance stu­dio

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - Ruth Evans Grand Bank

Look­ing around this sleepy town of Grand Bank, it’s not hard to be grate­ful ev­ery time I drop my daugh­ter off for dance lessons at Penin­sula Dance Stu­dio!

What New­found­land town of this size can boast its own dance stu­dio be­sides Grand Bank? Where else can you find the ser­vice of a qual­i­fied, cer­ti­fied dance in­struc­tor like Rhonda Scott who teaches lit­tle girls no less than six dif­fer­ent and dis­tinct dance styles in a pop­u­la­tion this small?

This year past she held classes for bal­let, in­clud­ing bal­let pointe, jazz, mod­ern dance, mu­si­cal theatre, and a com­pi­la­tion of many dif­fer­ent dance styles that ro­tate weekly which she calls “med­ley”.

I had never heard of Martha Gra­ham or Jose Limon un­til mov­ing away to study dance in Toronto, but to­day lit­tle girls in Grand Bank are get­ting the chance to learn their tech­niques even be­fore they hit their teens.

Grand Bank is no stranger to the fine arts or the theatre of per­for­mance. It’s a town that has val­ued the­atri­cal per­for­mance for many gen­er­a­tions. En­ter­tain­ing oth­ers on stage be­gan with church con­certs and even mu­si­cals in church base­ments in the 1960’s and 1970’s and this was soon re­in­forced in provin­cially-run school au­di­to­ri­ums by en­thu­si­as­tic teach­ers and in­spired youth look­ing for a chance to shine.

The Joanne King School of Dance op­er­ated in Grand Bank at the Lions Club from 1980-1991 and gave young girls like my­self and Rhonda Scott an all-new way to take to the stage with­out words. Who would have thought that years later Rhonda would re­turn to Grand Bank and open her very own dance school just as her dance teacher be­fore her had done? How lucky we are.

I was amazed this year to en­joy Rhonda’s ninth an­nual spring Recital, this year ti­tled “Collage”. There were 65 stu­dents in to­tal rang­ing in age from three to 16. Three lit­tle boys graced the staged in the cre­ative move­ment class for preschool­ers amongst girlies dressed in color­ful clown-styled tu­tus. All the rest of the num­bers fea­tured fe­male dancers of all shapes and sizes in classes grouped ac­cord­ing to skill level and not nec­es­sar­ily age. Many of the girls have been with Rhonda for years. She be­gan teach­ing in Grand Bank back in 2009 when she moved home from Nova Sco­tia bring­ing tal­ent and ex­pe­ri­ence with her.

Grand Bank owes a debt of grat­i­tude to “Miss Rhonda” for giv­ing our lit­tle women the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the fine arts and learn to ex­press them­selves through move­ment, say noth­ing of the con­fi­dence and self-es­teem they can achieve through this mas­tery.

Not only does dance it­self re­ward par­tic­i­pants with self-dis­ci­pline, pur­pose and im­proved phys­i­cal health that nur­tures their self­con­fi­dence, but Rhonda gives fur­ther awards to bol­ster self-es­teem. Each month the school hon­ours its best with the cov­eted “Boomerang Award” awarded to the dancer who shows the most gen­eros­ity of spirit and help­ful­ness to­wards oth­ers for that month. Rhonda prints their names in the recital pro­gram to en­sure ev­ery­one knows which per­son­al­i­ties shone most come showtime and not who has the most flaw­less pirou­ette.

Fur­ther to this, a new hon­our was given this year with the “Class of the Year Award”, be­stowed upon her mu­si­cal theatre (I) class. When these girls took to the stage there was no ques­tion why they were given ac­claim as their big smiles and their joy in per­for­mance un­de­ni­able. How blessed we are to have some­one do­ing such an in­cred­i­ble job teach­ing skills and of­fer­ing life lessons at Penin­sula Dance Stu­dio, giv­ing our chil­dren pride and mem­o­ries that can shape their fu­tures. Thank you, Rhonda. See you again for my lit­tle one’s en­roll­ment in Septem­ber!

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