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The barre was raised in the South Cariboo
Raising the Barre Academy of Dance!
Our Campus experienced the addition of a new Dance Academy last fall. Established within the District of 100 Mile in September, the first students of the Dance Academy have now wrapped up a full dance season.
Since opening the doors last September, it is safe to say, raw talent has been uncovered and a spirit of expression through movement has been brought to life by the people who attended the Academy in 22-23 season.
People of all ages performed on stage in the first annual year end show.
Living in a small town means you need to work with every resource you have to survive and thrive and that applies to the activities and smaller communities one is part of too!
When talent came to town in the form of TWO highly trained, highly accomplished dance instructors everyone is hoping they stick around and put down roots. The community hopes to give them a foundation to thrive upon. How does that happen? Well, for me as an individual it was making sure the youngest member of the Dance Academy community showed up and adhered to the principles of the Academy so that it can grow and flourish along side her.
We showed up, each week to train and practice and engage with the Academy and the results were impressive! Three shows - three packed houses and obvious dedication to the craft by the dancers.
Beautiful photos captured by Cinder and Ash Photography can be viewed by parents/guardians here.
One of the most beautiful expressions was the grown up ballet class performance (aren’t we meant to just be grown up children at heart, especially in Art!!) These women were dedicated through the season - many of them first time ballet students. Their performance moved me to tears with the power of their story.
I also have to give a hats off to the proprietors of the studio for going above and beyond in open conflict resolution, that really was supportive for me as an individual parent in overcoming some of the social stigma surrounding my writing for the Village Voice and other cooperative and creative endeavors in our town. I have faced the difficult reality of being ostracized throughout 2022/23. I was most heinously labeled “the dangerous lady on Dogwood” when I began publishing The Village Voice in Print, I was later labeled “a scammer” when I was part of the developer team launching Groundwork Community Service Cooperative in 2022 and worst - when we opened the Community Enrichment Space called Rolling Hills I was accused of “funneling all the cash from Rolling Hills personally” when in reality what I had done was give a $15,000 loan to the collective in order to get the space open! I also publicly issued an apology to Raven in 2022 when I couldn’t get her to come to the table of resolution to help understand the issue.
In the early conceptualizations of both the The Real Life Network and Groundwork Community Service Cooperative - I really noticed the general lack of conflict resolution skills and processess in existence in the wider society (the ability to hold a “both / and” mindset through development processes). This is a very specific challenge in the georgraphical region and community which we are operating here in what has colloquially been known as the South Cariboo (traditional map for interest).
Despite significant levels of un-resolved conflict between individuals we eventually established a Collective gathered a team and opened a Community Enrichment Space dedicated to the collective. The collective’s space inevitably closed due to breaches of contract and theft of the collectives professional documents (theft over $5,000). The testimonials of the workers spoke volumes:
“best four months of my life”.
At any rate, the proprietors of the dance studio took the time to phone me to make sure I was aware there were people in their close circle who were still in unresolved conflict - and that opened the door for mediation (which only one party was willing to engage in, but did ensure the conflict was opened up and not burried). As such, it could be put aside - just for the duration of the event. So - after some awkward negotiation and conversation all was well despite the ongoing open conflict. The really neat thing was, we were in the process of publishing our Community Conflict De-escalation and Resolution Guide at the time… What divine timing!
The highlight of the entire season for me was the finale performance - all of the performers on stage improvised to the end song. A beautiful symbol in an age full of division, extremes, separateness and an unwillingness to abstain from keyboard warrior-ism and instead resolve conflicts (boooooo to the dystopian Facebook algorithms).
To overcome differences, in support of a healthy holistic society and robust culture is the imperative of a functional society and a big cheers to J&J for achieving just that!
Congratulations to all the students and teachers of Raising the Barre Academy. You have indeed raised the bar in this small town … just like that!