Little ballerinas-to-be can learn ballet and jazz dance basics in Galadriel Watson’s classes at NaCoMo this winter.

Leap out of the old and dance into the new this year

Kids in Nakusp this winter have an opportunity to dance thanks to Galadriel Watson.

After all the candy canes, cookies, turkey, yams, pie, chocolates, eggnog, drinks, snacks and more this holiday season, getting back to regular life can be a real challenge. The excess of holiday feasting can be enough to push some people to choosing simpler food and more exercise, and for others New Year’s resolutions might be the key to getting back on track.

Getting back into the joy of exercise and a balanced life is a lot easier when it’s already a regular part of life, and the benefit of regular exercise is widely known and experienced. Skating, skiing, snowboarding are all great ways to get your blood pumping, but dance is also a great way to learn discipline, grace and balance and get some exercise.

Kids this winter have an opportunity to learn jazz and ballet dancing thanks to Galadriel Watson, who started dancing herself when she was just four years old in Montreal.

“The school I was with was quite serious,” she recalled, and although she never became a professional dancer, she has always had a passion for dance.

When the dance instructor who came from Revelstoke decided the commute was just too long, Watson decided to step up and fill the gap. In the fall of last year, her first students gave a recital for their proud parents, showing the ballet-jazz moves they had learned.

“This is the first time I’ve ever taught,” she said, amazed by the reception she got, “People pounced on me when I said I was giving classes.”

Last year she ran two classes, one for kids from five to eight, and another for older kids nine to twelve. Each group had a dozen students, which was just right for the space in NaCoMo.

The kids learned a warm up routine, some ballet bar work like plies and tendu, then they move on to some jazz work across the floor and learn a short choreographed dance piece.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Watson commented about her experience last year, and this year her classes will get some stretching in that they weren’t able to do before.

Like many figure skaters, her daughter, Maya, finds the class helps her on the ice too.

Watson will also offer a class for teens and adults, if there is enough interest. Last year, she realized too late that there was women’s volleyball the same night as the class she was offering, which meant no one signed up. This year, Watson has chosen Friday evenings for the adult class.

“There’s lots of interest in classes for younger kids too, but I can’t do that,” she said, working full-time and having a family of her own occupies most of her time as it is.

Becoming a dance instructor isn’t something Watson imagined before moving to Nakusp.

“I couldn’t consider teaching dance in the city,” she said, noting that there are so many professional dancers looking to make their living teaching. Here, it’s different, where, like many people, Watson feels she can give something special to the community.

“I’ve got something to share,” she commented, adding, “Everyone volunteers at something in town. I thought I’d step in too.”