My background with dance started after high school. I always had some element of stage or performance in my life. I would sing in choir and act in school plays. But it wasn’t until I built up the courage to audition and eventually be accepted for a performing arts school in Calgary when I fell in love with dance and what it did for that chubby 17-year-old boy. Dancing changed my frame of mind. It made me nervous and excited. For the first time in my life, I felt empowered and confident. I would walk on stage in front of 17,000 people and forget about every insecurity that used to occupy me and I felt safe. I felt accomplished. I felt like I had a purpose. I was immediately addicted to these newfound feelings. I kept my head held high and I was a part of something that I worked hard to achieve. I guess you could say that Pop Queen Cardio was sparked at that transformative time in my life.
Now, over 15 years later, I am looking back at Pop Queen’s one-year anniversary and I am overwhelmed with pride. While I am proud of the accomplishments myself and the Pop Queen team have made, my true sense of pride comes from seeing each and every one of those sweating faces on Tuesdays.
I recognize the courage it takes to step foot into a dance studio, whether having previously danced or not. I remember the feeling before my first audition, having never had any technical training; my palms were sweating, my voice had a quiver and my stomach was basically a butterfly conservatory. But it is these moments in life that you push through those feelings, being fearful of the unknown, pushing through the anxiety that you really get to experience something meaningful. You prove to yourself you can still try something new; you can succeed, you keep learning and keep growing.
Sure, these words might seem extreme for a once a week dance fitness class. I know we are no heroes, we aren’t solving homelessness or ending war. But when I hear feedback from my dancing queens, it makes me think this is more than meets the eye. I hear that Tuesday’s have become something to look forward to. I hear that some have harnessed the feeling of empowerment and used it in their professional careers. I see people who can’t stop smiling while sweating for an hour. I see the progression of a nervous first-timer in the back of the room moving closer and closer to the front row week after week. It wasn’t until I was aware of these things that I started to understand the impact of this class and how it has become a form of self-love.
I am proud to be able to share with people those feelings I felt 15 years ago on stage. And it doesn’t take a crowd of 17,000 people watching to experience it. It takes a small room of people, dancing to pop music, allowing themselves to feel.
To everyone who has been to a Pop Queen class, I am so grateful that we have found each other. To anyone who wants to try it out and feels afraid, that is okay. You can overcome that and the feeling waiting for you on the other side is worth all the nerves. To those who have no desire to come, I appreciate you listening to what I have to say. To my circle of people who have built me up and supported Pop Queen throughout this last year, I am so incredibly thankful. Cheers to all of you and I can’t wait to see where we are together after year two!
Thank you for allowing me to understand this is more than a routine, this is more than a dance class, this is Pop Queen Cardio.
Please join us in celebrating everything is it we believe at Pop Queen Cardio's first birthday. Saturday, September 7 at the Outdoor Garden at 1051 Broughton Street. Please RSVP here.