Meeting Anna Dueck ~ Contemporary Instructor
Tell me a bit about yourself!
My name is Anna Dueck, I did most of my training in Calgary, Alberta in my home studio, training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, just about everything. And then I also did an arts program in my high school which influenced me more into contemporary, African, more contemporary jazz, and other genres. Then I moved here to Vancouver to pursue my degree in dance at Simon Fraser University. I did 4 years of contemporary dance there, learning a lot of modern styles as well, and now I’m teaching here!
What do you like about teaching at iDance?
I like teaching at iDance because I find there’s such a variety of people that come...for my classes specifically, I find that there are some people who are very artistic and come to express themselves, or they’re coming for exercise and fitness reasons, or they’re just coming because they used to dance and they still want to continue their technique or training. So I always find there’s a variety of people which challenges me as a teacher as well to make sure that everyone’s satisfied and that I can provide different exercises that meet everyone’s needs, and that each week is different too. I have lots of people that come every week and then I have people who come because they’re visiting and travelling from overseas and they’re here for a few months...you never know what you’re going to get.
It definitely keeps you on your toes! What else do you like to do besides dance?
I like food. Anything that contains sugar I love, but I’m also pursuing a food blog and just kind of a food conversation place...so I like to make different recipes and use some of the recipes my mom gave me, and create a blog, and also just photography and video that goes alongside that. So I’m trying to build that...It’s called Num in my Tum.
I was just going to ask, where can we find you?!
You can find me at NumInMyTum.com or any social media and you can find me at just Anna Dueck on social media too.
Love the name...Would you say you know the staff fairly well here, and if so, how do you like working with them?
They suck [both laugh]. No I like the staff at iDance, I actually come early every week just to get a chat in with Jade because she’s so kind [Anna & Amanda both look at Jade and everyone laughs]. And if I have any concerns as a teacher I always feel comfortable expressing them. It be something with the studio or making sure all the students are being treated well, and I try to keep that conversation open too, in my class, if they feel like something, you know, that they’re not enjoying their time or something that they can let me know. And I’ve never had an issue working here.
Awesome. And what do you think of the clients?
I think the clients are awesome. There are some that this is their home and their outlet, kind of like their community space. And then I’ve had people who are coming from Germany and Spain and are just here for three months, and they absolutely love it and are so excited to get the chance to dance in Canada. So it’s all over the place, and I like that each week there’s usually a new client in class and I can teach them something new and they also bring me something new because they’re new members.
What do you love about dance?
I think for me it’s always been a combination of the physical side of things and also, even though I’m a bit more of a type A math mind, it does push me to have some create energy expressed. So you have to physically stay in shape, and it’s also a chance to move your body and sweat, but then you also get a chance to explore
and use music and movement and what feels good and what doesn’t. What’s new, what’s old, and just people, you share the space, it’s an experience, there’s no time in dance that will ever be the same, it’s always different, whether it looks the same, every single time it’s different; and you know an hour class is an experience with those people. And each week is a new experience, so only those of us in the room will share that time.
You mentioned you’re more of a math mind?? What do you mean?
I like to make spreadsheets and crunch numbers…
Say that one more time?...
[Laughs] I like to make spreadsheets and crunch numbers... [everyone laughs]
Awesome. So do I...
...So if you want a budget made I’ll be your gal. I also like to do arts administration, so like scheduling, event planning, and kind of the tedious tasks behind a business or events, and there’s lots to that has to go into that. We always forget, we think it’s just the teachers and the students but someone needs to plan and make it happen…
Yeah definitely, there’s so much more behind the scenes. Any little known facts about you that you can tell us?
I like to cycle now, so I’ve really become the classic vancouverite.
You got your bike stolen too.
Yeah I got my bike stolen last year and now I have a thirty year old vintage bike that the bike shop guy told me I should get rid of and invest in a new one [both laugh]...so I ride a nice old bike...umm...yeah I think I’m just a huge foodie too…
Yeah, what’s your favourite food or favourite thing to cook right now?
I hate cooking…
Oh I meant baking…
My favourite thing to bake right now?...hmmm...I donno I’m really into these black bean brownies and also experimenting with food replacements because it’s such a craze to eat vegan, dairy free, etc, none of which I am but just like replacing eggs with other things, eggs, butter, sugar with other ingredients and seeing how things turn out so that I meet other people’s needs and if they’re healthier too.
It’s so funny you love to bake but hate to cook, how come?
I hate to cook because there’s no science behind it. Baking you follow a recipe, you put it all together, it produces something. Cooking you have to experiment with spices and flavours, and temperatures and time… and if you don’t know the basics, which I feel like I’m still learning, it usually doesn’t turn out well….that stew never turns out quite how it’s supposed to [both laugh]. With baking it’s not that hard, you just scoop it and make sure it’s the right scoop! Everyone thinks baking is hard but you just need to have patience and all the ingredients.
I could keep talking about food but…[both laugh]...How do you find dance has helped you in your life, if at all?
I think actually teaching this class on Thursdays, it’s kind of the end of the week for me, and I find a lot of the time I’ll come to the studio kind of just drained from the week or what I’ve had going on, and then I find the energy to teach and then when I leave the studio I actually feel I’m in a much better mood. I mean they say physical activity boosts your endorphins and it gets you moving but it’s also a time to socialize so it’s not just going straight to the gym, you have a chance to actually talk to people, use your mind, use imagery alongside dancing. So for me, it’s kind of like, you know, music’s on so why not move and groove instead of just sitting there and listening. Enhance our senses and use more than one of them.
What would you say to people who are maybe a bit nervous to come to the dance studio, or come to your class, if they’re a bit scared by the thought of dancing?
I would say that you’re not the first one to not know how to dance and come to the studio. And you’re probably not the only one in the studio that has never danced before. I’ve had clients who have never danced in their life and they’re 30 plus and they’re nervous as can be, but just trying to break it down as much as possible. There’s also people in the class who have danced before so you can use them as kind of, like you know, someone to watch alongside the teacher. Also my class in particular, I think they’re a bit scared because it’s a genre that maybe isn’t seen on tv or as exposed as often as maybe some of the street styles, but I think people can benefit from it because it’s a bit slower moving, you get to express yourself more, and there’s a chance to kind of explore ways to move your body more, so you never know what your body may be able to do.
Awesome. Anything else that you really want to add?
I also want to add that I think there’s a great community here. There’s always posters for shows and different things happening, and people shouldn’t be afraid to say, “Hey do you want to go see this dance show, you might be inspired.” You never know what kind of relationships you can make too. I now have friends in Switzerland and Germany from working here, and just connecting...and it’s a resource place too.
I completely agree. Thanks so much Anna, that was great!