Our Confident & Inspired Alumni: Alana Mastroianni

What year did you graduate:

2011

What is your favourite style?

I can’t choose a favourite style of dance. I seriously love them all. Ballet for it’s technique and base for every other style. Tap for rhythms you can make with your own two feet. Contemporary for its expression of stories. Hip-hop for it’s fun and sassy mood. Acro for flexibility and stretching. Musical Theatre for mixture of songs and singing. Every style is a piece of me.

Why did you choose Dance Evolution?

Dance Evolution was Ida Sauve Dance Studios when I started in 2002. As a group of dancers, we all decided to switch to the studio down the street and that’s when the purple obsession became real. We were young and loved dancing together.

What was your favourite part about dancing at Dance Evolution?

My favourite part about dancing at Dance Evolution was that our small family turned into an even bigger family. Every Saturday morning, we would practice and head downstairs to the locker room for lunch. It reminds me of a big Italian family. We ate together on long tables with a fireplace going in the back. This was our safe place. This was our home.

What was the best thing dance practice has taught you?

The best thing dance practice has taught me is that good friends become family. To this day, our group can get together and it’s like we never missed a beat. Life goes on but our love for one another is like no other. We had so many life changes together, that we are connected. My love for dance and these girls will never go away. Dance has also taught me to be self-disciplined. If you don’t come to practice, that is your fault and you are letting the team down. If you don’t practice, that is your fault and you are letting the team down. You are in charge of your own actions.

What is your fondest memory of dancing at Dance Evolution

My fondest memory of dancing is when we did our Grade 2 Ballet exam at the studio. There were many of us that missed school so that we could do our exam at the studio. One of my friends (we will call her X) ended up forgetting that it was the day for the exam. So my mother had to go and pick X up at school (my mom teaches at this school) and we had to strip another friend (we will call her Z) after her exam (since we had different times for different ages) so that X could have a bodysuit and tights for her exam. Moms were doing hair and tying shoes. It was all crazy and we were so nervous. It is crazy to think that we have put so much pressure on ourselves.

Another memory is when my little brothers (not so little anymore) decided to take a hip-hop class from Miss Michelle Godin. Before they started, my friends knew when “the boys” where at the studio. They always made my friends laugh and tried to make faces through the window at us. They danced for 6 weeks and yours truly was the assistant (yes, me).

Another memory is going to all the dance competitions. From London to Toronto, to North Bay to Florida Nationals. Getting to hotels and trying to fit into one hotel room to have food was our priority after dancing. After the competitions were done, we’d find the closest restaurant and eat as a team. Then we’d jump into the hotel pools as refreshers.

What piece of advice would you give to current Dance Evolution dancers?

My advice to a current dancer is to enjoy every minute of it. Cliche to say, but these are the best times of your life. The people you are with everyday, the passion you put into practicing and the amount of effort your support system gives to you is all worth it. I don’t regret a single moment of my time as a dancer because I knew that is where I was supposed to be.

What was your greatest achievement as a dancer at Dance Evolution?

My greatest achievement as a dancer was being part of the studio’s name. It was an honour to be part of such a proud and committed team. If we were competing against each other, or someone was upset; we were always a close family unit and helped each other. Of course, when you win the awards and titles, it’s great. But I never loved that type of spotlight. It was always better when we were together.

Where are you working now?

I am a Grade 3/4 French Immersion teacher in Kincardine, ON. It’s about 5 hours away from home. I never imagined being away from my family and friends but the past 3 years have been amazing. I finally started taking dance classes at this tiny studio in town. I did the first move of the combination and the instructor says “I see a contemporary dancer is in the class!”.

In what way did being a dancer at Dance Evolution make you who you are today?

Being a dancer made who I am today by being part of something bigger than myself. I knew I was committed to being a dancer. I grew to be responsible, have good sportsmanship, practice, be patient; all things that make you a good person. But that is what made me into a team player. I wasn’t just doing this for myself. I was doing this for my team, my family. They depended on me to be committed just like I was for them.

How has being a Dance Evolution student impacted your life after dance?

Being a Dance Evolution dancer impacted my life after dance by being open with my own students extracurriculars. I have many students away for hockey, dance, gymnastics, etc, and I understand when they have to miss school time. That’s what makes them committed to their sport. It makes me so happy knowing that they are part of a team like I was. I always tell them that if I can, I will make it to a game, a recital, a competition, etc.

Thank you Dance Evolution for letting me be part of the team from afar and behind the scenes. These teachers have been some of my best friends growing up and I am so proud. “People dance because dance can change things. One move, can bring people together.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *