It is said that life is not just a passing of time but a collection of experiences. As we reflect back over the past 30 years, this couldn’t ring more true. Yes, the time has come and gone, but the memories we have created together stay with us and serve to remind us all of the different ages and stages that we have persisted through as a community.

In celebration of this incredible milestone, we will be presenting you with a unique blog series to take you back in time through our journey and yours as a dance studio, local community and family. Each month we will visit a different memory and hope that will help paint a more full picture of who we are, where we came from, and where we hope to go in the future.

So, how did it all begin anyways? It was late in the 80’s when Val Jensen, who we now lovingly refer to as “Miss Val”, was busy in the Red Deer community volunteering her time as a youth choreographer. Whether it be at her children’s school, Joseph Welsh, or with her church youth group, she was beginning to get a bit of a name for herself. It wasn’t until a friend saw how much the kids were enjoying themselves and said “Val, you should be sharing your talents with ALL the kids in the city”, that the idea of Dance Magic was first born. Something sparked in Miss Val, especially as she recalled being a teenager dancing competitively in the city growing up. On one particular occasion, herself and one other dancer were excluded from being asked to join a special travelling troupe, while all the other dancers in her class were invited. Although all the girls in her class had danced together for years, there was no consideration of how left out and upset it might make the two girls to not be included. It was this memory that shaped what Dance Magic would become. Miss Val wanted to create a different kind of studio than the competitive one she grew up dancing with. She wanted to be able to offer Red Deer a place where “EVERYONE COULD BE A STAR!”, so that every student, no matter their ability, shape, or talents would be included. She wanted to inspire kids to feel successful in their own ability, to not be “judged” and to dance for the love of dance with friends in a safe and welcoming environment.

So, do that she DID! In the fall of 1987, Miss Val welcomed her first ever Dance Magic classes into the the lunch room of the Eastview School. For the first couple of years, classes always were on Wednesdays and the season didn’t start until October, once the rush of back-to-school had died down. That first year she taught 6 classes to a whopping 32 children. Jazz was the only discipline that was offered until some 10 years later when the studio moved to Central School at which time tap and ballet were finally added to the roster of disciplines. Miss Val only started with 6 week offerings regardless of age, but slowly, 6 week classes turned into full year classes and the October start turned into a September start. Needless to say, today we are serving over 1400 children in our community and our offerings are almost too great to count!

What started as a dream of inclusion, has now exploded. With two studios running full schedules 5 days a week with events and programming on the weekends we continue to hold Miss Val’s values at the forefront of all the decisions we make and we insist on making all efforts to instill similar values within all those whose lives we are lucky enough to touch