Lets learn to dance in heels: an interview with Lisa Dawn￼
Become your most fierce and confident self
Do you remember what it was like to be a child in dance classes? You got to wear the cool outfits, fancy shoes, and watch yourself in the big mirrors while dancing around with your friends. It was so much fun practicing on repeat until it was time for the recital.
Even though you are no longer a child, what if I told you that you have the chance to have the experience all over again? You probably would not believe me. Well, there is a dance studio opening up in early April that is going to make this possible for adults. The studio is called Collective Studios, which is Regina’s adult dance centre. This studio was created by Jaimie Kopeck, and it is for adults (17+), no prior experience needed. The classes you can take are ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, salsa, batcha, and heels. The Carillon did an interview with Lisa Dawn, who will be teaching the heels class. Heels is a class that will make you feel confident walking in heels, and also make you feel sexy and fierce in them too! Let’s talk to the fierce Lisa and get to know her dancing experience.
Can you tell us about your past dance experience?
I was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and my dancing life started at the Martin school of dance at the age of three years old. As I grew older, I danced in many competitions and traveled in both Canada and the U.S. After I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to make dancing my career so I jumped for it. After graduation, I moved to New York City when I was 19 years old. I was there on an international student visa program where I took dance at the Broadway center. In this program you had to take a certain number of classes daily, though I took them all. This is where I found my love for heels. I got my first job in Vegas with a celebrity cruise line with a contract. Then I started up with Princess and got a contract back in 2013, and I have been there ever since. Contracts normally last six to nine months, and I have been so lucky to travel and dance everywhere! I am still with Princess to this day, although because of COVID-19, it has brought my performance to a slight pause, although I still have a huge passion for dance.
What is your favourite move or sequence?
My favourite move has got to be a body roll. This is where you start at the top of your head with your forehead back and your chin up. Then you lift your chest and roll through your spine. You then squat in your hips and a bend in your legs.
Can you explain some personal emotions you have while dancing in front of others?
Dancing in front of others to me is the best feeling! I feel like dance has become such a huge expression for myself. When I am dancing, I am my most authentic and most fun self. It is when I know that I am doing it for not only myself but also bringing joy to others. I have a way to express myself without saying any words.
What is your favourite part about dance?
Dance is a way to express yourself. When you are in a happy and joyful mood, this is when your dance is going to be on a high energy level. Compared to when you are maybe sad or in a slump your dance may be slow and not as expressive, and that is okay. Dancing is such a good way to get people together and create a community. You can dance all together and create a bond without even knowing it. You can build a sense of community and share so many things with others.
What is your favourite thing about teaching dance?
Seeing the growth in the students, kids or the adults. This is when I get the chance to see them grow and work hard towards a certain goal. When one is teaching that goal, I see them thrive with inner joy. I also get the chance to see others get out of their comfort zone and get people to recognize and take a moment to let go and be their confident selves. Plus, I am sharing something that brings me joy with others.
Can you explain what heels dancing is?
Heels dancing has many styles of dancing, and it is all based on the instructor. My style of heels that I will be teaching is along the lines of heels. This [dance is] beautiful looking and it is about showing your inner self, showing intersexuality, inner goddess, inner sassiness, and inner fierceness. You can bring out any emotion you have and bring it out all on the floor.
What is a good outfit to wear to a heels class?
My biggest thing if you are happy with your outfit, what you are wearing and feeling confident, then your class will go well!
What type of music accompanies this dance, and what are your go-to songs?
I sort of like older songs. Although heels often go towards an R&B, hip-hop, and you can slow it down to make it look classier and sexier. I normally go towards remixes of songs, and some go-to songs are ‘Addicted’ by Jon Vinyl, ‘Sweating’ by Alewya, and ‘Antidote’ by Nao and Adekunle Gold.
Do you have any personal stories for our readers that would get them encouraged to try dancing?
The hardest thing is getting yourself there. You are worried about going by yourself, but everyone is here for the same reason: to get dancing, get moving, get a workout in, build a relationship, and create a community to rebuild a connection. Dance and have fun. You don’t have to worry about strict opportunities like recitals or competitions. Just worry about getting there and having fun!
What is the pattern of how classes take place?
Heels classes start with alignment in upper body, standing and walking in heels, isolating the body with movements, [and] head whips with stationary movements. Then we will move towards floor movements with some choreography.
Is the studio putting on any special deals during the opening month?
We will have a grand opening at the end of April where we will be giving out classes, passes, and deals, and then we also have promotions and sessions out right now. We are also planning on having additional events out soon like socials and workshops.
The Carillon wants to thank Lisa for all these beautiful answers and wants Jaimie and her team to know that we, and I am sure others, are looking forward to the studio and the community and dances it creates!