Squamish Dance Centre is a place for dancers of all ages and abilities to express, enjoy, and learn in a supportive, inclusive and caring space. We offer a wide range of classes and programs, we believe that dance should be accessible to anyone and everyone. We strive to create a dance experience where children and adults of all ages, shapes and abilities can freely express themselves in an inclusive, explorative, supportive and most importantly fun environment. Our goal is to create a positive and happy experience for all of our students and their family. We strive to nurture and develop talent, provide performance opportunities, celebrate the achievements of every student and inspire a love and appreciation of all styles of dance.
Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?
Answer: I’m Squamish born and raised, so I love the community and am heart-set on supporting all the businesses in town if I possibly can.We purchase through local businesses frequently and use local contractors. We don’t supply shoes and attire ourselves, but we direct all of our dance families to a locally owned dance attire shops including locally owned children’s store, Chaos Kids Fun on Cleveland, which has a dance attire and shoe section. We stay connected throughout the year with Kaos Kids regarding our class and performance dress code, so they can stock up on what families will be looking for. We buy all our other services from local service providers. We use Squamish Screen Printing for the printing on our apparel, our banking is with Vancity, Wilson Telford is our accountant, for printing we’ve used Inbiz and ACutePrint. And I have the best local bookkeeping team – Inis LeBlanc and her partner Brian Burba.
We love having inspirational artwork in the studio, and we’ve worked with Happimess, Modern Wood Imagination and Jennifer Boyes to create beautiful window art, wall art and install inspirational quotes on our doors. For our annual events (dance recitals, awards banquet and open house), we hire local service providers like Michael Hewitt (sound tech), Corrie Lindroos Photography (100 Mile House; used to live in Squamish), Heather Mosher Media (recital videography), Baza Films (recital movie production in place of in-person recitals during COVID-19), Billies’ Flower House and Shura Goodcake (Bowen Island; used to live in Squamish).
Question: What social and environmental practices are you proud of?
Answer: We are committed to providing a safe and positive studio where all students can feel empowered, comfortable and free to express themselves. We believe that the lessons dance teaches go far beyond the walls of the studio, so we focus on teaching lifelong skills. We are focused on inclusivity, working to provide every child access to dance, not turning anyone away. Our Student Teacher Education Program (STEP) gives youth the opportunity to become leaders while learning how to time manage, take initiative, make healthy choices, communication skills, preparedness and more. Our support for youth development was recognized with the Youth Champion Award at the 2020 Squamish Business Excellence Awards from the Squamish Chamber of Commerce.
Environmentally, we work hard to make sure all our systems are processes are online so that we can offer a paperless system to our dance families. We’ve also been working on improving how our students use our garbage and recycling system. We just brought in new bins, and are focusing on educating them on how to use the system appropriately to minimize waste.
We employ 11 people. We do regular staff training events – recently we hired Mike Apperley from TE First Aid to come in and teach our staff first aid, and brought in Vanessa Dock from Healthy Hearts, Healthy Minds. to teach us about leadership.
Staff appreciation gifts throughout the year, from local biz Billies’ Flower House, Xoco Chocolate, Sunflower Bakery, Chaos Kids Fun, Be Clean Naturally. I buy all my assistants gift certificates to local businesses like 2 Chill Gelato.
We love participating and donating to local charity events – we donate cash and staff time, and we also love performing at local events. We support countless fundraisers throughout the year that raise funds for local schools or charity silent auctions. We also coordinate our own fund raisers. Our bake sale concession at our year-end recitals raises money for local charities that have a positive impact on youth, including the Squamish Food Bank and Big Brothers/Sisters (Squamish location is now closed). We are proud to raise money with the help of our dance families, and it’s amounted to about $8,000 over the last 4-5 years. Every year we collect toy donations from our dance families before the holidays, and donate them to Community Christmas Care to support kids and families in need. In 2020 we couldn’t run summer camps due to COVID-19, but we continued to partner with the Squamish Arts Council to sponsor youth attending programs outside of Squamish Dance Centre through the youth art scholarships.
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