Dancers get in the groove again

·2 min read

Classes resumed on March 1 with the Jasper Dance Program following the province’s approval of such activities and owner Nicole Koebel couldn’t be happier.

“It’s so nice to see the kids,” the longtime dance instructor said. “It’s such a positive thing to do.”

From Monday to Thursday for the next three weeks, young folks from six to 17 will be attending classes at various times in the multipurpose hall at the Activity Centre.

In line with health restrictions, Koebel and nine students will keep at least three metres apart while practicing a variety of dance styles.

Koebel will also teach a dance class to residents at Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge on March 15 and 29 at 1 p.m.

The Jasper Dance Program has been running since 2000.

“I teach ballet, hip hop, jazz, musical theatre, world dance, contemporary and lyrical,” Koebel said.

And she’s well-versed in this field as Koebel took her first official dance lesson at the age of four in Jasper.

“It was highland dancing,” Koebel said. “I remember the class. The teacher kept me behind so I could show everyone a particular routine.”

Right off the bat, Koebel tuned into her passion for teaching. When she got home from that class, she ‘taught’ her two-year-old sister, Tamara, the moves she had been shown.

“Teaching is my passion - it brings such joy,” she said. “It’s something that’s in my blood. There’s so much to dance.”

Her love of dancing was nurtured at home.

“My dad loved music,” she said.

She and Tamara, who went on to become a professional dancer, danced together for many years.

Koebel went on to get a degree in dance education at the University of Calgary.

When she returned to Jasper years later in 1996 after working at her full-time job, Koebel taught dance lessons part time.

“It just grew - I eventually made that my career focus,” she said.

“It was a leap of faith. When you really love something and you pursue it and you're in your element, then good things follow. I’m so blessed to be able to do this.”

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh