Susie Strickland: Kennebec Dance Centre, Class of 2020
At KDC, we are so proud of all of our dancers: past, present, and future. We enjoy staying connected with our alumni, learning about their journey, and hearing about how Kennebec Dance Centre may have helped them prepare for their future. Here is what one of our KDC graduates shared about their dance journey after graduating from high school.
Q: How did your time at KDC prepare you for the future?
A: KDC taught me the importance of hard work. The instructors at KDC pushed me to be the best version of myself both as a dancer and as a person. Being pushed physically taught me that hard work pays off: I could see myself improving the more time and effort I put in. This skill of pushing myself led me to take on a very difficult matter in college. Despite the intense workload, I have put in the work and done well in all of my classes. These valuable life skills were initiated in me at a young age through my time at KDC.
Q:What were some of your favorite things about KDC?
A: One of my favorite things about KDC is the sense of community. Spending so much time at the studio makes your teachers feel more like family than just people you dance with. The teachers at KDC have the kindest hearts and are constantly looking out for each and every student. These relationships formed at KDC are long lasting and don’t just end after graduation. As a college student my instructors still reach out to me and the friends I made at the studio are still some of my closest friends.
Q: What would you say to someone debating whether or not KDC is right for them?
A: Your experience at KDC is entirely what you make of it. If you’re looking for a studio where you can be heavily involved and become a competitive dancer, KDC offers that level of training to get you there and support you in competitions and many other performance opportunities. If dance is just a hobby to you like many others, KDC allows you to take just a few classes to fit your wants and needs. Overall, any experience you have at KDC will not only improve your skills as a dancer but teach you valuable life skills. As a former dancer at Kennebec Dance Centre I can confidently say that growing up at the studio shaped me into the person I am today.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at KDC?
A: My favorite memories at KDC took place during dress rehearsals for our annual recitals. These rehearsals can be a bit stressful figuring out how the show is going to run and dancing in a new environment, but the people at KDC make it so much fun! Seeing other group dances for the first time and cheering each other on are both a lot of fun!
Q: Why do you love dancing?
A: Dancing gave me a creative outlet to express myself. I love working hard to achieve a goal, and dance gave me the opportunities to do just that. All my life I have been very busy and involved taking various classes and being a two seasons varsity athlete at school put a lot of stress on me. Dancing gave me the opportunity to put my emotions into something creative and end the day doing something I loved.
Q: How has dance impacted you as a person?
A: Dance has made me the strong confident person I am today. I started dancing at age 3. Like many other tiny dancers, I would cry because I missed my mom or couldn’t get a step right or my ballet shoe was untied. With time, dance allowed me to gain confidence in myself and become more independent. Through dance I learned to be disciplined and to speak up whenever I was injured or didn’t understand a movement. At the age of 10, I started to compete in dance competitions which could be scary at times. Seeing dancers who could hold their legs by their heads and turn like tops. The main lesson I learned then was to dance because it was fun, not just to be better than everyone else. However, in high school I struggled with this. As a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted to be the best of the best, but perfection in dance is impossible. The staff at KDC and my peers helped me to realize this and helped me discover the real reason I danced; because I loved it. Even after a serious ski injury my senior year, leaving me to learn how to walk again, I still wanted to be involved in the studio and came to classes. Throughout this hardship my instructors and classmates were more than supportive and got me through that tough time. Overall, dance has contributed to who I am as a person in too many ways to count. Growing up as a dancer was a truly unique experience that I fondly look back upon.