"You can't change a situation, but you can change how you react to it. You can choose what you do with what you have."
Here in the heart of the mountains, no-one would argue the substantial turn-over of wonderful people that pass through the town of Banff. Like many of us who call Banff our home, I have heard some incredible stories, and some of the best have been in the lounge. One of those stories, is Ana's.
I first met Ana when she was looking for a studio space to rent for dance rehersals. Via word from a friend, she found us. Internet meet Ana -
Where are you from, originally?
I'm from Winnipeg originally. I have two very hard working parents that gave me quite a few opportunities I would've otherwise never had. My parents always made sure that music, art, and creativity were a part of my life, and always encouraged me to have an imagination and think outside the box. Whether that be by buying paint so I could (not so successfully) try my hand at a portrait, or driving me back and forth from dance rehearsals.
What was it like for you being committed to Dance growing up?
Well I never had time to hang out with my school friends and do normal team sports, so I was forced to make new friends through dance. I've never really thought of it as a commitment, just something that is part of my life. Changing plans and schedules to fit it in was never a question for me.
You've spent some time away from Dance; what made you step away from it / come back to it?
When I stepped away from dance, it was to persue a career in a different field. During school, I found it very hard to make time to dance. My thought was that I couldn't make dance a viable career at the time. I came back to it when I left Winnipeg and moved to Vancouver in January 2014. I began attending class at Harbour Dance Centre in down town Vancouver, and got to take classes with incredibly talented teachers as well as some incredible performers. Being surrounded by the passion these people had was a big part of why I came back to dance after such a long time.
How would you describe your style of Dance?
I'd describe my dance style as modern ballet. I like that you can use your body as an expression, while still using ballet techniques and lines. I think being able to do that is a huge part of performing and capturing an audiences attention. It isn't the motion, it's what you convey in that motion.
"When you're younger dance is a lot about showing off your technique, and as you get older it is more about inspiring others."
Has your style evolved with age?
My taste in music over the years has changed my style quite a bit. Being able to take music that makes you feel something and put that into dance is one of my favorite things. As I get older my ideas change as well. I feel like when you're younger dance is a lot about showing off your technique, and as you get older it is more about inspiring others.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from music and rhythm. Whenever I try to choreograph and get stuck, I throw on music I find inspiring and try to play with new ideas. Whenever there's music playing, I'm usually thinking about dancing.
What brought you to Banff?
I came to Banff last October for the Winter season. I wanted to spend the winter getting work experience in my other career, and learning to snowboard. What better place then Banff?! I really fell in love with the community and how everyone who lives here takes care of one another.
What's your favourite place in Banff?
My favourite place in Banff is Legacy trail. There's nothing like biking to Canmore on a perfectly clear day in the mountains. Every time I make this trip I feel really lucky to be spending a piece of my life surrounded by mountains.
"I think it's important to have time to just clear your mind. For me, dance is a way to do that."
How do you find balance between work, creativity, friends & time for yourself?
Finding balance is definitely a struggle. At the moment I don't have much time for my friends, but I know that they understand how hard I'm working on my audition. I usually give myself 1 or 2 days a week to myself. I usually go for a bike ride to Canmore, or grab a coffee and sit in the park with a book. I think it's important to have time to just clear your mind. For me, dance is a way to do that.
What's the greatest piece of advice you've ever received?
The best piece of advice I ever received is that you can't change a situation, but you can change how you react to it. You can choose what you do with what you have.