It has officially been over 7 years since I've had a roommate, which kind of scares me to think that I've been living on my own for that long. However, over the past few weeks I've actually had to learn to co-habitate once again!
I met Kirsten Wicklund (from SYTYCD Canada Season 3) this past summer at a dance Convention. I didn't know very much about her, except for that we had a lot of mutual friends, so that made it easier! She returned to my studio a few weeks ago to assist Tokyo while he was teaching for me. I went to pick Tokyo up at the airport and Kirsten decided to meet him there and drive up with us. Since Tokyo's flight was delayed me and Kirsten had an hour to kill together driving in circles around the Toronto airport and that's when we basically realized that we were the same person, in different bodies of course!
Kirsten needed a place to stay in Toronto for a while before she returned to her hometown of Vancouver and I politely offered one of my spare rooms to her. She was thrilled and I picked her up that weekend with her 4 suitcases in tow. I feel bad that my place is outside of the city so much for her, and she has had to rely on public transit every day to get downtown, but I don't think it worked out too badly. We both crave Mexican food, we have the same weird and random sense of humor, and we both enjoy daily doses of Booster Juice... so it was a match made in heaven!
What really amazed me about Kirsten is truly how devoted she is to dance and her training. Every day she wakes up early to go downtown to take a ballet class and then heads in other directions for Contemporary Classes, or whatever she can fit in. She preaches to me about consistent ballet training and how much she loves to take class so that she can continue to learn. I don't think I know of very many dancers who are trying to make a professional career who seriously go out of their way to train in ballet every day. It's no wonder her technique is so beautiful and why she is so strong in all facets of dance. She really was brought up to understand that having a solid foundation in dance is the most important thing.
I know that on SYTYCD this season Kirsten was portrayed as this ballet chick, who was kind of a one trick pony in Contemporary... but we all know what some fine tv editing can do for people! Kirsten actually only got serious about ballet at the age of 15 and decided to dedicate herself to becoming great at it. She wasn't naturally gifted at it, so she claims, but she worked harder than everyone else so that she could be.
I think while Kirsten was staying with me I was being a little harder on my older kids at the studio. I noticed myself pushing them to work harder, and tried to get them into the studio earlier to work on things by themselves. I don't know where that suddenly came from, but I guess I'm just trying to get them to see that hard work is what really pays off and being dedicated to your craft is a skill you shouldn't take advantage of. Then I have to sit back and realize that they're still just kids, and that will come with maturity and growth as dancers. Students have to make those decisions for themselves... How hard do I want to work today? How hard can I push myself? Is that the best I can do? What do I need to work on? Fortunately for Kirsten, she has realized that those questions actually have no limitations or answers, so her growth is consistent and constant.
I can't expect everyone to just go into the studio and do a ballet barre on their own and self correct, but maybe a little bit of Kirsten will rub off on the kids and they'll realize that learning to love plies and tendues can really help you to get where you want as a dancer one day! The thing that me and Kirsten both agree on about the industry is that we dislike that sometimes it's not about the training or the dancing at all... it's about the networking and the other social aspects of dance that can get you jobs sometimes. That frustrates her, and I can understand that when you're so dedicated to training, but it doesn't sway her from ballet class every day. She wants to be a great dancer first and foremost and then will worry about all of the other stuff later!
Kirsten headed back to Vancouver not that long ago and I miss having her around already. I liked having a roommate again, but I'm also happy to reclaim my bathroom back!
Just wanted to share how awesome I think Kirsten is, and how much she helped me remember why I love my job so much!
Miss you girly!