We have been lucky to have Andrea Valentine-Lewis as our student intern this fall, and in this blog post she shares her experience of working at The Dance Centre:
Growing up in Victoria, I was a competitive dancer in a studio setting. I took classes in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, stage, and musical theatre; however, ballet was (and is) my greatest passion. I attended intensives at Laban Conservatory (London, UK), The Banff Centre, The National Ballet School, and The Quinte Ballet School (Ontario). In 2007, I was accepted into the Professional Division at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and moved to Manitoba to pursue a career in classical ballet at the age of 15.
I quit dancing at the age of 18 and decided to explore other avenues within post-secondary education. Over the next five years I took classes in acting, business, English, creative writing, and event planning. I realized I missed dancing, so I applied to Simon Fraser University’s Dance program in 2015. With sore muscles and a lot of luck, I was accepted into the full-time program.
Today, I have had the great opportunity to combine all of my interests. I am in my third year of my Bachelor of Arts in Art, Performance, and Cinema Studies at SFU. Although I am no longer in the Dance program, I recently performed in two shows at SFU and had the amazing chance to intern at The Dance Centre as an administrative assistant.
My work at The Dance Centre was a fantastic way to learn about the operation of arts organizations. I was able to learn about the different roles of the association and how each position works independently to form the success of the collective. Out of all of the different roles at The Dance Centre, I was most fascinated with the role of Sheri Urquhart, the Development Director. Sheri works to acquire donors and maintain relationships with donors at The Dance Centre. I feel that this role could be well-suited to me as I enjoy event planning, writing, networking, and working with others. This is a career I will further explore as I approach graduation.
My favourite project during my internship was working with Linda Blankstein (Associate Producer) on the organization of the Immigrant and Refugee Youth Workshop in Dance and Poetry. This workshop was the first of its kind and was an experiment for us all. It was a wonderful learning opportunity, because it’s a unique experience to form a workshop that caters toward people with a language barrier and a cultural difference. Visiting the workshop firsthand, under facilitators Alvin Erasga Tolentino and Amal Rana, was a really magical experience. I could already see the youth expressing their feelings through words and movement. I hope that The Dance Centre continues to hold workshops for immigrant and refugee youth.
Overall, I had a fantastic internship! I have strengthened my administrative skills, while working within the arts community. It is very inspiring to see that the staff at The Dance Centre are passionate about developing the Vancouver dance community. Dance artists and dance enthusiasts alike are lucky to have this great resource available to them. I would like to extend a very enthusiastic thank you to the staff at The Dance Centre for working with me this semester! I know we will work together again in the future.
THANK YOU Andrea, from all of us at The Dance Centre!
Photos top to bottom: Andrea Valentine-Lewis by Lindsey Blane, Youth Workshop by Yasu Okada.