Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Chloe Mathieu performing at CNDC April 2016 in Winnipeg

Chloe Mathieu, a 12 year old student at Encore Studios, recently attended 3 local dance conventions.  We thought this was a recognizable commitment for such a young lady, so we asked her to share her experiences with us.  Which convention was her favourite, what did she learn, and why she recommends other dancers should attend conventions.
The three conventions she attended were View Dance Convention, Triple Threat Dance Convention, & iDance.  Chloe says her favourite was View: 
“It was the most organized of the three.  It was less crowded (because they limit registrations) which meant you had more room to dance.  The teachers were really nice too, and took time to connect with the students.  Overall, it was the most welcoming of all the conventions.”
When asked what she learned out of these conventions, she mentions two important realizations:
“First, I realized how important it is to focus on the details the choreographers are giving as they teach.  I needed to try to work in the details as I was learning the moves, because this is what they are looking for in the final product.  The second thing that I learned about was musicality and the importance of staying in the beat and rhythm of the song being used.  I had just never thought about it much before these experiences.”
The most inspiring moment came from iDance and the Q & A session with the teachers at the end of the convention.  It was here that she heard from Hip Hop teacher, Tyger B, that it doesn’t matter whether you are the best dancer right now.  What’s important is the effort you put into your dance, and if you work at your personal best, eventually you will get to be the best. 
With Vocal Theatre as her favourite class at Encore Studios, she was thrilled that there was a Theatre class at iDance, which was “super fun”.
Chloe was the only student from Encore Studios to attend Triple Threat this season, and luckily she found it the easiest to make friends at this event.  But overall she said that all of the conventions had a competitive feel amongst the participants.  “It wasn’t bad though, it just pushed you to work harder.”
Chloe was one of three Encore students that won scholarships at View Dance Convention (the others were Sierra Reid and Anne Leveille).  About being recognized, Chloe says it was a surprise that she truly was not expecting.  She was excited with winning the award which made her feel like she had accomplished something, and pushed her to work harder at all of the conventions.
We asked Chloe what her advice would be to other dance students about attending conventions:
“Attending conventions helps to expand your horizons.  You learn more.  It’s also good to be with new dancers and learn from watching others that you don’t normally dance with.  Overall, I found that attending these conventions is really encouraging and I would recommend others to attend conventions when they can.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Getting to know our Artistic Director and Owner, Ms. Tobi

As a young girl, I started out as a figure skater training about 12 hours/week.  My parents spent countless hours and dollars on my training and our family gave up ever going on a family vacation because of the time and financial commitment to figure skating.  (This is why we respect family time so much with our Encore families, because you only get this time with your children once in a lifetime).

Initially I started to dance ‘on the side’, as a supplement to my figure skating training which included ballet, jazz, & tap. Eventually my passion for dance took over but I was never encouraged by my family to consider it as a career option.   My other interests in high school included the sciences and business through Junior Achievement.

I started university in commerce and stopped dancing (as a lot of kids do because we think we don’t have time for it).  I was very depressed and decided I needed to change my path.  I enrolled in Medical Radiological Diagnostic Technology and shortly after, went back to dancing.  It made such a difference in my mood, and actually helped me to be more organized with my studies. 

Upon graduation there were no full-time jobs in x-ray, so I asked the director of my dance studio if she had any positions opening up for the next season.  She hired me to manage one of her three locations, which included teaching 20 hours/week.  I was in heaven!

Later on I enrolled in the Teacher Training program through the RWB, and made my way into the RAD Teaching Certification program. I taught and choreographed for Royal Dance Conservatory, Sisler High School, Royal Dance at the Forks, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

I realized through continuing professional development that I needed to work for myself because I had developed very strong views about what and how I wanted to teach. These beliefs include:

·   People who dance are stronger mentally and physically
·  Having a passion for dance trumps talent in terms of how far one can progress through meaningful practice
·  Everybody should be given the opportunity to shine regardless of skills and limitations
·  Quality dance education should be made equally available as both a recreational activity as well as a vocation 

With these ideas, combined with my previous interest in business, I started my own studio, Promenade Dance Academy, in 2005.  We rebranded in 2014 as Encore Studios and are now in our twelfth season.

I hope that by sharing a bit of my history that you can gain a better understanding about how and why we run the programs at Encore Studios the way that we do.  There are 30 dance studios in Winnipeg and not all are created equally.  What makes Encore Studios unique in such a highly popular and competitive industry is:

·        The belief that dance should be a source of joy and positivity for our students their families. 
·        That we limit class sizes to ensure we can offer truly personalized teaching and programming.  
·        That we have fun, celebrating all of our students' successes at every level.

We know that we have a unique approach that is welcoming and positive, kind and supportive, inclusive and healthy, so that we can develop students who are capable and confident for their futures.  We work to make registering streamlined and convenient, including getting class supplies, so that we can support our families.   Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of your lives, and for trusting us with your child’s development through dance.