For Amanda Frankham, dance is a way of life.
Frankham, a dance instructor who is also the owner and director of Summerland School of Dance, began dancing when she was growing up in Fort St. John.
She took her first dance lessons when she was in Kindergarten and attended her first competitions when she was in Grade 2.
Over the years, she learned ballet, tap, dance, hip hop and lyrical dance..
“Most styles I’ve been doing since I was five,” she said.
But it was not until she was 15 that she started to learn acro, a dance technique requiring extreme flexibility.
Coming to this dance style later, she learned various tricks to help her master the technique.
Today, she says acro is her specialty, and she teaches her students the same tricks she needed when she was learning this dance style.
After high school, Frankham took an intensive dance program in Vancouver, spending more than 20 hours a week dancing while also working full-time.
When she finished the program, she chose to teach dance rather than perform as a dancer.
She had started teaching dance when she was 13 and by the time she was 15, she was teaching on her own.
She has taught in North Vancouver, Bowen Island and Gibsons.
In the fall of 2014, she moved to the Okanagan Valley and was able to work with Summerland School of Dance. She moved to Summerland in the fall of 2016.
Earlier this year, at the Business and Community Excellence Awards, Frankham was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
She describes the young dancers in Summerland as “the best kids” and enjoys working with them.
“I really enjoy the kids here,” she said, explaining that the dancers in Summerland have an enthusiasm about dancing. “The love is there, and the joy of being here.”
While Frankham believes everyone can learn to dance — even those who buy shoes in left pairs — she said those who start early will have an advantage.
“If you start young and you’re not so coordinated, you can still do well,” she said.
And while learning dance is difficult for everyone at first, there are some advantages.
Frankham said dance provides great fitness training. It also requires to work together, as part of a team.
“You are very committed to everyone in your group,” she said.
Summerland School of Dance offers seven styles of dance: tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, musical theatre and acro.
Last year, the school offered 44 classes, but in fall, she expects to have 56 dance classes from September to the end of May, as well as some summer camps.
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