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We have been very fortunate to have Asuka Otaki interning with us this winter. She sat down with Digital Marketing Coordinator Lindsay Curtis to discuss her internship and what she has learnt at her time with The Dance Centre.
LC: Tell us about yourself: Where you are you from? What are you studying? What is your connection to dance?
AO: I moved to Vancouver from Japan to study communications at SFU. My connection to dance is the experience I have as a baton twirler. I started baton twirling at the community centre when I was in Grade 1 and transferred to the athletic team, and was on it for 13 years. I started my own baton twirling team last summer and I teach baton for kids aged 5-12 around Metro Vancouver.
LC: What prompted you to apply for an internship with The Dance Centre?
AO: As I approach graduation, I have been asking myself what I want to do afterwards and what made me excited. The first things that came to mind were the words dance, performance, and show. However, as I’m not a professional dancer or baton twirler, I’ve been struggling to find the path to explore this career. When I found The Dance Centre’s internship offer, I thought, “I should just do it. I might get good ideas while doing it”. So, this opportunity was my very first step to learn more about myself and my career in the dance/performance community.
LC: What have you learned during your internship?
AO: The Dance Centre internship has given me a lot of opportunities to learn a variety of skills. I mainly learned about administration and marketing. I have learned how to communicate with the neighborhood and approach a target audience. For the dance community, I researched contacts for Canadian embassies in Europe and sent them an email to promote Canadian dance artists. It was very interesting to learn how The Dance Centre plays a big role in supporting dancers to a wide dance community in the world. At the same time, The Dance Centre’s activities are rooted in the local community, promoting events to local Vancouver citizens but also supporting the dancers by providing space, workshops and many useful resources. Aside from the work, I have also learned how to communicate with the team. I can be very shy to talk to people in English, however, all the staff at The Dance Centre always gave me a lot of support with their kindness and understanding. They gave me many opportunities to learn about a variety of skills as a professional.
LC: Did you take away anything for this internship that will assist you professionally?
AO: As I manage my own baton twirling team, this internship was useful to learn about how to develop the organization and keep sustaining it. Although I’m not looking to get new members for my team, I learned skills such as promoting a show/ performance to a completely new audience and managing the membership. The experiences that I’ve got during the internship will absolutely be useful if I decided to develop my career as a coach and expand my team.
LC: Has interning with The Dance Centre inspired you to engage more with dance?
AO: Yes! Doing an internship at The Dance Centre inspired me to discover new dance genres. Before I started the internship here, I was only familiar with a few genres of dance such as ballet, contemporary, and folk dance. The Dance Centre provided me with so many opportunities to engage the dance community including companies and artists. In the future, I would like to engage in the performance or entertainment industry, so exposure to the new dance genres and meeting dancers was valuable in order to cultivate a better understanding of the dance community and my future.
Thank you for having me as a part of the Dance Centre team!
LC: Thank you Asuka!