For Rhonda Gillrie, a.k.a. Miss Rhonda, the end of the dancing season is both a time of joy and a time of sorrow.
Seeing her dancers master the moves they’ve worked to perfect over the season and show them to a full audience of family, friends and loved ones is always a proud moment, one that makes Gillrie choke up at times.
“I’m always emotionally not ready to be over for the season,” she said. “When the dancers are graduating, it is as if a part of myself is taken away.”
Some of her dancers will no longer be students after this season, with some of those same dancers having been with Miss Rhonda since they were tots.
“I’m always so very, very proud of the dancers and the way they perform,” she said.
The final competitive dance recital of the season happened this past Saturday, May 14, at the Stettler Performing Arts Centre. With two packed performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., everyone who wanted had a chance to see Stettler’s dancing artists strut their stuff.
The end of the season also marked three decades of teaching in Stettler, though Gillrie said she doesn’t intend to give up her dancing teacher’s shoes any time soon.
“I did not think I would still be commuting from Red Deer to Stettler,” she said as she thought about when she started out 30 years ago. “I enjoy working with the dancers, teaching in the school and being involved in the community with a variety of performance opportunities for my dancers. Arts promotion is key to a thriving community.”