When local ballet teacher Laszlo Tamasik decided it was time to take a step back from his namesake dance academy, there was only one person he trusted to take the reins: His former student, Paige Anderson.
Anderson was taught by Tamasik as a teen – she was a fan of the flamboyant, expressive Russian style he specialized in. She studied at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in the summers, became a professional ice dancer and then a coach and choreographer before returning to her native Powell River. “Laszlo is over 70 now, and eventually wanted to retire so he asked me to take over about three years ago,” says Anderson, who is now Artistic Director of the Laszlo Tamasik Dance Academy (LTDA). “I decided not to change the name because I wanted to honour his achievement of teaching in Powell River for 25 years. We’re a small community with deep roots and we love to show our appreciation.”
LTDA is now in its fourth year since its revitalization and Anderson has greatly expanded the number and type of classes offered. As well as ballet, there’s jazz, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre, voice, acro-dance, modern, contemporary and even tumbling. Everything is available at every level, from recreational to competitive. “The competitive programme is for those who are taking their dance more seriously – they’re passionate about it and want to take multiple classes a week. They do more performance, beginning this season, they will begin to take Royal Academy of Dance Exams, and they have to audition,” says Anderson. “Anyone can take a recreational class, whatever their age or level – it’s fun, great exercise and dancers learn a performing art.”
The hard work is paying off. “Every year we go to two out-of-town competitions and also a festival in town. If the adjudicator at the local event deems the students good enough, they go on to compete at the provincial level. This year we had five dancers go on to provincial level and another five were runners-up. The students have been really trying hard to improve their technique so it’s great to see them rewarded,” says Anderson.
All that success is really down to Anderson’s teaching faculty. “They’re amazing – wonderful teachers who have so much experience across so many different disciplines,” she says. Still at the heart of it all is Laszlo Tamasik, who teaches adult ballet every week. “He’s a vital part of our team and community, and always will be,” says Anderson.
To learn more, visit Laszlodanceacademy.com or call Paige Anderson on 604-414-8650.