I am 17 years old and am the creator and instructor of a brand new dance company called 24dancepei.
I have been passionate about dance since I was 12. I have training in ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, musical theatre, step and tap. I started teaching young children dance when I was 14, and fell in love with it.
Kids are so inspiring to me. Seeing them come out of their shells and grow over time is a really awesome feeling. I enjoy knowing that I may be introducing a lifelong passion, an art, and skills that builds confidence, creativity and self expression.
I have taught dance at a few studios in Prince Edward Island, meeting some incredibly talented kids and nurturing relationships with them. I always enjoyed teaching, but a part of me wanted more. I wanted to be my own boss, to train the students differently, participate in competitions and create a family environment for every class. I wanted to have my own dance company.
I learned how during my Grade 11 co-op placement at Kinetic Fitness.
After two short months of training at the gym through the co-op program and daily-workout classes, I developed a close relationship with co-owner Nick MacDonald. I trained with Nick at least once a day, and he taught me all of the behind-the scenes tasks that come with owning your own business. I love being at Kinetic; the people are like a second family to me, and I probably spend more time at the gym than I do at home.
Nick and I made a plan to teach a few classes a week in Kinetic's yoga studio. Hip hop lessons for ages 5 and up, and a diverse training class for ages 11 and up. I began designing a logo and creating my business plan. With advice from Nick, and tips from the Internet, I came up with my logo, created a Facebook page, designed posters and started spreading the word about my classes.
After four days of my Facebook launch, I was contacted by a local journalist, who wanted to do a story on my new business. The response I received after the article was overwhelming. After two weeks, I had 34 students registered! The news had spread across the Island, and I was even recognized when I was in Halifax. I began creating my class plans, working on choreography, and meeting with other entrepreneurs.
It was encouraging to get to talk with another young Island entrepreneur who began his business when he was in Grade 12. He has had great success thus far, and we are currently teaming up to help support each other's businesses. His success is just another reminder that no matter what your age, you can be successful
Along with all of the positive feedback, of course, comes some negative. Online comments such as, "Who would want to send their kids to an unqualified 17 year old when there are professionals who have paid to train to be teachers?" were posted.
I didn't let the negativity get to me. I have been performing in professional productions since I was 7, I've participated in off-Island workshops, and have a passion for teaching. To me, that's what's most important, having a positive attitude and a passion. I want to pass these qualities on to my students.
My vision for 24dancepei is to provide dancers with challenging, inspiring and fun classes. Creating a family-like environment at the studio and encouraging teamwork are major goals for my company. I also hope to inspire other young people to pursue their passions. I believe that regardless of your age, if you have a passion and are committed to it, you will achieve amazing things.
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