We love living in this part of the world, in particular in this amazing community. When we moved here, Maia joined the dance scene in a huge way and now is a company dancer with The Village Dance Academy here in Kelowna. But this isn't any dance school.

Not only does the owner, Sam Crossley, create an electrifying dance experience, she also advocates for her dancers physical and mental health. I caught up with Sam just after a dancer company retreat. 

BBS: You recently created The Village Dance Academy. What is your mission and vision for your studio?

SAM: Our vision at The Village is to create a beautiful and safe place for our youth to dance, train and grow into genuine, kind and loving human beings and dancers. We strive to offer the best and most well-rounded training possible and to help our youth grow into healthy dancers and people.  

BBS: Having a retreat like this is a whole new concept within a dance school (I think?).  Why did you decide to do this for your dancers?

SAM: I first got the idea when I was participating in a teacher seminar. Another studio owner had mentioned that he did this for his students and that it brought their teams that much closer together. I figured it would be a great way to start the season off and a great opportunity to develop as a competitive program. 

BBS: When it came to deciding what you were going to offer within the retreat, what were your objectives and why?

SAM: My first goal was team building! I wanted to encourage the elimination of cliques and groups and to bunk kids they aren’t necessarily close with. I also wanted to get them away from their cell phones, which was AWESOME! I also aimed to BUILD CONFIDENCE and to talk about issues that aren’t talked about enough but are so incredibly important for our youth. 

BBS: Can you describe the seminars that were offered?

SAM: We offered two seminars. The first was a skill assessment seminar where the dancers graded themselves from 1-10 on different skill sets (technique, personal skills, communication skills, audition skills, class taking skills etc.). The second seminar was a “self-love” seminar which was very moving. They talked about the importance of self love, positive body talk, positive thinking, how it effects yourself and the people around you. It was very eye opening for a lot of us!

BBS: What did you see happening as your dancers went through their weekend experiences? Any “aha” moments? Favorite moments? 

SAM: The self-love seminar was the most earth shaking moment of the weekend. The room was silent as we were learning that we are all struggling with the same battles. It was very important and valuable to bring these things to surface for kids at this age. For myself, it was very heartbreaking to see all of these kids struggling with self-love, some of them couldn’t even bring themselves to say the words “I love myself” or “I love my body” even if they didn’t mean it. It is something that we need to continue talking about and reinforcing with positivity. Self-love is EVERYTHING!

BBS: What other things will you introduce in your program that promotes a healthy body and healthy mind?

SAM: We are now offering nutrition services at The Village! We have an in-house nutritionist who does monthly newsletters for our dancers and families as well as seminars, consultations etc. We are also in the works of building a smoothie bar so we can offer healthy options for fuelling our dancers in house. We are very proud of what we offer and have big plans to help guide our youth to make the best decisions for dance and life! 

BBS: Anything else you would like to add? 

SAM: I am grateful for this opportunity to speak about the retreat… It was a truly amazing weekend and left my heart so full. I can’t wait for the next one!

Thanks so much, Sam! This retreat made a huge impact on Maia. It’s truly amazing what you are bringing to the table that will only enrich these dancers lives. It takes a village and as a parent, I am so grateful that Maia and I have you and your team in our lives!


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