You Are Enough | A Dance Photography Event in Southern Alberta

I’ll never forget the day I walked into my first dance class- my mom took me to buy my first pair of jazz shoes the week before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a kid that played a bit of soccer and could run REALLY fast. I’m not sure if my parents thought I would even like dance but to be honest, that very first day of jazz class a fire lit in my heart.

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I was 6 or 7 years old and a late starter compared to some kids at age 3. But that didn’t phase me in the least- I was suddenly amazed by this art form and a strong sense of determination took over me for the first time in my life. The next few years all I did was practise, practise, and practise.

I was fiercely motivated to nail the splits really early on and I can just see myself now- in the basement forcing my body and ligaments to go lower and lower and to become a stronger dancer! Spins and pirouettes were the other skill I practised until I was so dizzy and couldn't stand up anymore! I added in tap, ballet, and other disciplines in that time and it became my life and my source of comfort.

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I think it’s safe to say my life changed and by age 12 I remember being put in the Advanced Group with 16-18 year olds. It was scary, but I loved it. But hey- there were emotional times too. My instructor Kelly was to me the most AMAZING tap person there is. I knew she knew I could handle it. But I remember one time all the older girls just took off carefree nailing on these steps at a tap workshop with the incredible late Carol Ann Hanson (my instructor’s amazing mom). I couldn't get the step and so I escaped the building, sat at a playground across the street, and bawled.

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That moment taught me a lot. I could either sit and cry and be upset with myself… or I could use that sense of frustration as motivation to improve and be better. Strength over crying was my goal and that was the LAST time that happened! As I got older and starting performing in more groups, solos, and duets, I learned the value of team work and my dance family. I learned how to be confident! I struggled with acne at an early age and I honestly look back now and know that if I didn’t have dance to lift me up, I probably would have had terrible self esteem.

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Dance taught me how to love myself. Sure, there are always those emotional moments at competitions or hardships that come up. But- there were WAY more moments of strength and happiness that were SO worth it. I remember those gold, silver, and bronze medals at competitions and all those specialty awards.

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But if I could tell myself something then, I would say: the colour of the medal doesn’t define you or your hardwork. Use it as motivation and a reason to improve and just be positive. Positivity is such a powerful thing in life and something I learned now that I am older. You are ENOUGH!

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Now enough about me! I wanted to do another one of these events to celebrate more dancers and this art form that is a SPORT. If anyone out there disagrees with me, I invite you to put your body through the pain us dancers go through. I invite you to put pointe shoes on and try to do these jumps or stand on releve. The athleticism dance takes is incredible. Even tap! My calf muscles are STILL there you guys!

I also wanted to do another session to let dancers see their beauty and how amazing they look while they are in their element. I want dancers and parents to have images that reflect their true soul as a dancer and photos not in their bright and sparkly costumes. I want dancers to look at these photos and think “I look beautiful.”

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Not only that, but doing these dance events brings together studios from a lot of places. I am one that values community, positivity, and working together. It was a beautiful thing to meet so many dancers from so many studios! It put the biggest smile on my face to see such kind attitudes in these young women- I think a lot of us can learn from them. Support one another and have each other’s backs. Share in the passion of dance and don’t let the negative attitude of competition consume you. Let the beauty of your dancing on the outside match the beauty of you on the inside.

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I have to say that I remember having SO much fun at competitions talking to other students from different studios, and the big smile and look of surprise they had on their face when I said hi and complimented their costumes. I challenge ALL dancers to break that wall and be friendly back stage and lift each other up. It makes competition season so much more worthwhile and memorable- I promise.

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All of these images I am SO beyond proud of. Each and every single one of these young dancers stole my heart and AMAZED me. Mady, Alix, Harleigh, Olivia, Taylor M, Alexis, Maia, Sydney, Taylor O, Haylie, Steph, Aysia, and Kaitlyn… you made my job so easy! I got so excited seeing each beautiful face and I will cherish these photos forever. I am even going to hang a few in my office!

Thank you dancers for being you…

You are enough. Keep scrolling!

With love,

Schae Philpott, B.B.A.
Professional Photographers of Canada | Click Pro

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