By now most Nakuspians have heard the news that Cassia Parent, owner and one of the instructors at Move on the Kusp is moving to Kimberly at the end of the month.
Parent arrived in Nakusp five years ago and began teaching at the Move on the Kusp about a year into her time in the village.
Throughout that time she’s held dance classes on a variety of styles including jazz, ballet, hip hop, and more, along with several styles of yoga and movement classes.
While she has thoroughly enjoyed operating the studio, there have been some pitfalls along the way, one of which was time.
“Running a small business is very time consuming,” she said. “I’ve been doing that for four years, and I’ve been super happy to do it, it’s given me back so much, but my life is bigger than any one thing, all of our lives are. When life opens up other doors and other chapters, we need to be willing to listen and to know when is the right time to say no to one thing and to start giving to another.”
Finances are another reason Parent has decided to move on.
She thinks Nakusp is a very economically survivalist town, and activities like dance and yoga are considered more of an extra or luxury as opposed to a necessity.
“I need a certain number of students taking a certain number of classes,” she said. “If things aren’t panning out when I crunch those numbers at the end of the first semester, then I need to be real with myself about how much further I can go.”
She said it was never her intention to become wealthy doing this, but she did want to see a thriving community built around movement and creative expression.
She passionately stated her decision was more than just a financial one.
“This was still an agonizing decision to make, and a very emotional decision to make because I am very passionate about my work and I believe in it as healing way for kids to express themselves and get to know themselves on a level you can’t get through sports,” she said.
Parent finished off the 2015/2016 season on a high. She said the students had a great year and a great season, and she saw some amazing teamwork and commitment from the dancers, but she was spent.
Along with dance, she was also involved in various activities over the spring and summer, including Art Party, events with the Nakusp and Area Bike Society, and more.
“By the time the middle of August hit I realized that I had had no reflective downtime, and it was very difficult to take a break,” she said. “I have no partner, I don’t have anyone to cover my classes. I had few offers from a couple of other teachers that I could call on if I really needed for coverage of yoga classes, but with the dance classes, there was nobody else.”
As the fall season rolled in Parent realized she was feeling the wear and tear on her mind and body.
After she announced her decision on Facebook, posting both on her personal page and the Nakusp Communicator, reaction from residents was almost immediate. Most parents and students were understanding and offered compassion, though there were some who reacted badly. Parent said those reactions were few and far between.
“Their reactions and their disappointment is understandable,” she said. “I don’t begrudge them having hard feelings. I hope that down the road they can have some empathy for my position, and they can see from my point of view that working for less than minimum wage is not acceptable for any talent that is being offered.”
When asked if there was anything she would miss about Nakusp, her immediate answer was the people, saying they are unlike residents of any other town you will visit. She said everyone has been friendly and welcoming and while residents can sometimes be nosy, it’s never with any bad intentions.
She recalled living in Nakusp not even a year when her grandfather Milton Parent passed away. Everyone seemed to know him and in the time after his death, people she didn’t even know would walk up to her and offer her their condolences and sometimes a hug.
Though she leaves at the end of the month, Parent takes with her the fond memories of her time in Nakusp and looks forward to the next chapter of her journey.
“The decision to move is fairly personal,” she said. “Moving into my new life and into the things ahead of me, hopefully starting a family this year and hopefully beginning those things that I have not had the opportunity to do in the last decade of my life. I’m excited to do those things, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”