Miss Sara Falls in Love with Dance
I got into and fell in love with dance all because of Sesame Street. When I was about 6 years old I saw a ballerina on there that was showing the difference between big and little. I thought it was the most amazing thing that I had EVER seen!
Miss Sara Starts to Dance
When I wouldn’t stop talking about or telling everyone(which wasn’t many so it was repeated to the same few people) that I was going to be a ballerina someday. My parents got me dance lessons for my birthday. A little-known fact about me is that I have A.D.D. and other learning disabilities. So me sticking with this was NOT expected. Boy did I prove everyone wrong!
I did all of my training at A Step Ahead Dance Company in Wyoming, MI. My first teacher was Miss Leslie. She was unfortunately in a really bad car accident a couple months before recital. So her replacement was Miss Holly, who was my teacher for the rest of the time I took lessons there. That meant a lot to me that I always had the same teacher.
My passion really took off in 6th grade. That was the year that a boy named Jon was in my class. My teacher decided that this was the year he was going to start to learn lifts. I was the one picked to be lifted. EEEEEK!!!!!!
This was made even more special and exciting since my Grandma, who was my biggest cheerleader, was possibly EVEN more excited and proud for this to happen. She told anyone and everyone that I was dancing with a boy and doing lifts that would listen. Sadly that was the last time she saw me dance. Two weeks after recital that year she suddenly passed away. To this day, every time I dance I say a prayer and ask God to let her know I am dancing for her. That I hope she is proud of me and all that I have accomplished.
But back to studio life. In 7th grade, my studio decided to join the competition side dance. I had to audition and everything. I made the team. So exciting, but a lot of hard work! We only competed in 3 competitions that year, and the highest placed was 2nd, but it opened my eyes to a whole new world! Side note competitions are NOTHING like they were when I competed. Sad to say but true.
Miss Sara Gets Serious
I hadn’t put much thought into how I was going to be a professional dancer to this point. That experiences and the training that went into it was all that it took though. I learned how to start writing and creating choreography, began pointe work, and started to look into what it was going to take to become a professional dancer. The first time I auditioned for The Grand Rapids Ballet, was my first year en pointe. I knew that there was no way I was ready for the Senior company there. I only wanted to get the feedback from professionals on what I needed to improve, work on, and what my strengths really were. During high school, I did just that. I worked tirelessly on my technique, flexibility and turn out. I also continued competing since that provided even more training in all of those areas.
My Junior year of high school, I was asked to be my class partner Jon’s pas de dux partner for competitions. At our very first competition, we not only placed first in our division, we also got the third highest overall points for the competition as well. We danced at Festival of the Arts that year on Calder Stage. Got featured on the news and went to Nationals for our studio, which was a first for our studio up to this point. We placed first in our division again, but no high scores. 🙁
Even without another high score, I felt that it was time for me to take the next step in becoming a professional dancer. My Senior year was not meant to be my year. Two weeks before our first competition and one month before my audition. I suffered a career ending injury. I did both still, knowing there was no good outcome for either. But when you are a dancer you do what you have to. What you know and love.
Miss Sara Takes a Break
I danced with my studio until my 2nd year of marriage. But life as an adult took over and at the time dance did not fit into any of that. I took a year off from dance. Then I taught for a small studio for a year. While pregnant with my first child. That usually isn’t too big of a deal. But I had a very hard pregnancy so it made things that much harder. Like teaching dance. So no dancing for me for three more years.
Miss Sara Makes a Change
On December 1, 2006, all of that changed. My world was turned inside out and upside down. My 3rd child and first daughter was stillborn. We named her Cretia Victoria. She was named after my beloved grandmother. Along with my husband’s grandmother, who was a very special person to both of us as well. My daughter will forever and always be my Sparkling Angel.
Sparkling Angel Dance Company Begins
Because of her passing, the idea that I already had for affordable Christian dance classes became a reality. One month after she would have turned one we had our very first class in my church’s basement. We were in the gym for 2 years before we moved to the unused choir room. We stayed there for the next four years. That is when we realized we had more than outgrown everything. From 16 students that first year to 60 that sixth year.
We moved to what is now Hudsonville’s ECC. Then we were at a gymnastics studio, Horizon Complex for 3 years, where I was the dance director. They no longer offer dance. So it was time last year to put on my big girl tights and start my own studio. Which brings us to where we are today, Sparkling Angel Dance Company. Where we still believe every day is a chance to praise His name with dancing. To dance light and pray heavy! To think that all of this happened because of Sesame Street.