Grand River Academy Of Dance

Miss Kristen’s Blog!

Miss Kristen is our third staff guest Blog!  It’s a good one…check it out.


Not So Stereotypical


The first thing I thought about when asked to write something was my own dance experiences. How every studio is different from the teachers to how the studio itself is run. Specifically, though, I thought of my Instructor Miss Debbie. This is because I never had the “pretty in pink” costumes, or the overtly happy dances to Hey Mickey, Stupid Cupid or Lollipop. Instead, I danced to songs like AC/DC’s Back in Black and Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb because she was a very interesting teacher with her own spin on the dance world.


My instructor was Deborah Thomson, and I grew up dancing at her studio, Deborah Thomson’s School of Dance. She was a very eccentric lady – well, let’s be honest, she still is. I would walk into class and fully expect to see her in ALL black, long blonde hair straightened, and generally bouncing up and down in a happy mood. Her studio room was painted black with large stone gargoyles perched on each of her stereos (Not kidding); and, her back room was filled to brim with props from previous years: life size coffins, skeletons, painted backdrops, a large dead looking tree, and other such things.


With her eccentric personality came diverse dances to many rock songs, metal songs, movie soundtracks, dubstep, or anything that inspired a creepy, sassy, or whatever feeling she thought of that day.


Even the costumes could be interesting at times. I don’t think I ever went a year without at least one mask and wig combination. If there wasn’t a wig there was definitely going to be a head piece somewhere in the mix. Which means I have a very large collection of extremely well made Halloween costumes in my closet somewhere.


However, there are two things about Miss Debbie that I remember specifically. She was an absolute perfectionist and it definitely showed in her routines. I can remember a day where my class spent the entirety of that hour on one chaines turn because we weren’t getting the arms perfectly to the side before we did the section. She would have her favourite microphone out that was hooked up to the studio sound system – just to make sure we all heard her (especially for production). The next thing I remember was how hyper she would get at nights. I knew this because from the age of 11 – 17 my solo time was always either at 10:30pm or 11:00pm. I was generally her last student on that given day and I can tell you that her and I were generally bouncing off the walls together.


It’s funny to look back and realize that I spent 16 years of my life with Miss Debbie. I have a lot of amazing experiences because of her. I got to work with many different choreographers, went to conventions, made it into a dance program in high school, and learned a lot from her about theatrics. She always had a better, younger, outlook on life then most people do. I just hope that when I’m teaching my students here at GRAD that I’m offering the same kind of experience I had with Miss Debbie.


–          Miss Kristen