Sharing her love of dance with her daughters creates a special bond, says Nicole McCormick.
Dancing requires passion, hard work and good time management, says the busy wife and mother.
In addition to making sure that her daughters get to their classes, costume fittings, dance recitals and festivals, McCormick has her own tight schedule as the owner/operator and certified dance instructor for her business Dance Your Hart Out dance studio.
For the entire family, dance has always been a way of life with lots of travel, practice, hectic days, long hours and many rewards.
Nicole is a role model for her children.
“I started dancing when I was 10 years old with Judy Russell when her studio was at St. Michael and All Angels Church,” said Nicole.
“I was one of her first students and I danced with her for about nine years.”
McCormick has always had a passion for dance. She studied various dance disciplines – ballet, jazz, lyrical jazz, Irish, musical theatre, Hawaiian, Filipino and more.
She’s worked hard and danced competitively for several years and was honoured with invitations to perform at the provincials. She’s won many awards and trophies at dance festivals in Prince George, Quesnel and Prince Rupert.
Then McCormick set aside her dancing for 10 years while raising her children.
Not surprisingly, Caitlin, 12, and Abigael, 16, have followed – literally – in their mother’s footsteps. Both girls began dancing early on and, this week, they’re performing in several dance disciplines during the 38th annual Prince George Dance Festival.
“When my girls were around five, I put them into dancing and they just loved it,” said McCormick.
The girls still love to dance and hope that dance will somehow be in their futures and allow them to travel – even if it takes them away from Prince George for a time.
“I believe anyone can dance if they want to,” said Abigael, who performed at the provincials last year. “It’s a way to express yourself [but] you have to be prepared to dedicate yourself 100 per cent to it.”
Caitlin would like to one day travel around and dance professionally, and adjudicate at dance festivals, conduct workshops and hopefully inspire young dancers through mentoring.
She and Abigael are willing to give up some “social life” now for their future goals.
“We both take eight dance classes a week (Nicole does all the driving) so that can take a lot of time from your social life, people at school understand that I think when they know you’re a dancer.”
Abigael even choreographed a lyrical solo number called “How” for her sister who performed it on Saturday and won first overall in her category.
At this year’s festival, the girls are performing five dance solos each on stage at Vanier Hall. They have set their sights on making the provincials and both have qualifying marks.
Humility is the most important attribute a competitive dancer can have, they say.
“Sometimes we are dancing up there with our best friends but we are competing and if you win, you’re excited, but you try your best to be humble and move on.”
Nicole points out that dance is not only good for self-discipline, it is also good exercise.
“For me, dance is a great way to keep in shape. When I’m teaching my pre-school class (Jelly Bean Jazz-hop) and moving around, that’s where I get my real cardio workout and it feels great.”
In 2008, McCormick decided to open her own business, Dance Your Hart Out, a play on words as she lives in the Hart area.
She hired qualified dance instructors and offers training in a wide variety of dance disciplines – Highland, tap, hip hop, musical theatre, acrobatic and more.
Every year, the studio and its dancers puts on a Christmas show where people “pay” for their admission by bringing in canned goods for St. Vincent de Paul.
“This is our way of giving back to the community. We had 700 people attend the two shows, it’s always fun for the parents and it gives the kids a chance to learn about the spirit of giving.”
For more about Dance Your Hart Out dance studio, class signups and days/hours of operation, visit www.danceyourhartout.com.