Nicole Decsey on what a dance celebrity is and her personal GTA Dance Celebrity Hall of Fame.
What does it mean to be a celebrity?
Merriam-Webster describes it as “the state of being celebrated” or “a famous or celebrated person.”
To me, a celebrity is someone to look up to and admire. It is someone that has been a mentor to others and has the kindness to offer their help and expertise to someone who needs it. A celebrity could be anyone. They don’t have to be a Hollywood star or tour the world, they just have to make a difference in someone else’s life. You only have to be important to one other person to be a celebrity.
In the dance industry, there are many individuals who are celebrities without getting international recognition. These people make a difference in the lives of young dancers, and they are role models to other artists.
Some artists who have been role models for me and who I believe have changed the lives of many artists are listed below.
Nicole’s GTA Dance Celebrity Hall of Fame
Artistic director of Frog in Hand, Colleen Snell, is without a doubt one of the most kindhearted and talented individuals I know. She is always giving opportunities to emerging and local artists within her company, and she is always ready to give her assistance and support to artists at any stage in their careers. I went to Colleen for advice on writing grants, and she took the time to meet with me and go through the specific grant I was applying for – no strings attached. I don’t know many people who would go out of their way to do that.
David Norsworthy gives young dancers the opportunity to train with so many amazing teachers in a multitude of styles that will help them transition into professional careers. Fresh and Ignite are both workshops run by David Norsworthy and Kristen Carcone that prepared me for the future I would have in dance. When I was a young dancer just coming into my own, I attended Fresh Dance Intensive every year and I was a part of the first ever Ignite. David always made me feel seen and important in these workshops. I never faded into the background nor did my peers. It was in these classes that I first felt like I had a future in dance.
Fanny Ghorayeb was the artistic director of the dance program at Cawthra Park Secondary School when I was a student. Fanny trained thousands of students, her connections in the arts are endless and she is always willing to support and mentor her students in any way she can. As one of her students, Ms. G gave me so many opportunities that have shaped who I am today. I toured for the first time with her Repertoire company at Cawthra and got to train with people such as Belinda McGuire thanks to her. Ms. G has also supported me since I graduated by coming out to my shows and offering to mentor me on my own artistic endeavours.
L to R: Colleen Snell by Fran Chudnoff, David Norsworthy by Colton Curtis, Fanny Ghorayeb
These are just a few people who have changed my life and the lives of others. To me that makes them people worth celebrating.
Dance celebrities are everywhere, they can be anyone. They may not be a celebrity to you but to someone else they are. Who is your role model? Who is the dance artist that you would like to sit down with and talk to? Because that is your celebrity, and that kind of love and generosity is what we should all aspire to be like. Touring and becoming widely known is just icing on the cake. The real glamour of our business is the love of our peers and coworkers, it is the relationships we make and the memories we keep.