He may be stepping back from the barre, but one prominent Powell River ballet instructor’s legacy will continue.
Laszlo Tamasik, who came to Canada in 1967 from Hungary to continue his professional dancing career in ballet, has spent the better part of the last 50 years passing his knowledge and love for ballet on to his students, helping them master ballet steps from basic to the most advanced. Twenty-eight of those years have been spent in Powell River and the last 20 at Laszlo Tamasik School of Dance, the ballet school within Powell River Academy of Music.
“Time goes fast,” Tamasik said to the Peak. “I’ve had a very nice time here and I’ve always liked to be busy.”
Tamasik will be reducing his classes, focusing on adults and private lessons only after health concerns last year forced the 70-year-old to slow down.
Paige Anderson, one of his students, who has worked with him in dance at the academy for several years will be taking the lead at the newly formed Laszlo Tamasik Dance Academy.
Tamasik said he arrived in Powell River in 1989 after he saw an advertisement from Powell River School of Dance Society which was looking for a weekend ballet instructor. They flew him up and billeted him each weekend. But, it did not take long for him to fall in love with the town, and he convinced his wife to move.
After the society board collapsed, Tamasik took on the school himself for a number of years before joining the academy of music.
As with most teachers, voice strain is something of a common occurrence. Tamasik said that it was not unusual for him to lose his voice for a week at the end of June each year, but last year something out of the ordinary happened. He lost his voice, but it did not return within the week. That set alarm bells off for him, so he went to see his family doctor. A growth was found in his throat and Tamasik had to go to Campbell River to have it biopsied. And when the results came back, he was told it was cancer. After six weeks of radiation therapy last fall, the tumour has been eradicated, but the teacher said there is always the chance of it returning.
For some time now Tamasik said he has been thinking about what will happen when the day comes he needs to hang up his dancing shoes.
“That was my goal when I came here: to build up talented dancers to be teachers,” he said, adding that he has always prided himself of the seriousness he brings to his art. “So we don’t have to invest so much money to fly teachers in here. Amazingly this year it happened.”
Tanya La Fave, who grew up in Powell River and who was one Tamasik’s students, will be teaching ballet at the academy, as well as elementary school teacher Amy Parsons. Both bring years of ballet experience to the school.
Tamasik said he was happy his name would still remain hanging over dance school’s door.