CVDA Alumni Samantha Carr

CVDA Alumni: living examples of “dance skills are life skills”
 
The CVDA family extends beyond our current dancers and parents to our wonderful alumni. Over the next couple of months we are excited to feature former dancers who have carried the lessons learned at CVDA and gone on to achieve success and joy in their professional and personal lives. 
 
Our first alumnus, Samantha (Skillman) Carr, danced at CVDA in the early 2000’s. She was a Performing Company member during 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. Her final two years of high school she was busy taking classes at the studio, a member of the Newberg High School dance team, and involved with her church youth group. After graduating from NHS in 2007, she attended George Fox University, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2011.
 
Chehalem Valley Dance Academy: So it’s been 10 years since you graduated from high school. What are you up to these days?
 
Samantha Carr: I’ve been teaching 1st grade at Dundee Elementary for many years and this year I’ll be teaching kindergarten at Crater Elementary. I recently earned my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governor’s University online program.
I’ve been married for six years to my firefighter husband. We hope to start a family soon!
 
CVDA: Have you been involved with CVDA since you graduated in 2007?
 
SC: When I was going to George Fox I taught the 2-6 year old classes. It was great teaching experience while I was earning my education degree.
 
CVDA: Speaking of teaching, who were your CVDA teachers?
 
SC: Holly Derville-Teer was our director and taught our jazz classes. Casey Davenport was the ballet teacher. Kimberly Kjersten was the tap teacher. I took one class from Kristen Stoller my senior year.
 
CVDA: What do you remember from your time on PC?
 
SC: The friendships we built from shared experiences! My dearest friends to this day are my CVDA friends. We’ve been in each other’s weddings; now we’re having babies at the same time.
There was a great sense of camaraderie and working together as a team. Everyone was a valuable member and supported one another. That is really memorable to me.
 
CVDA: What does “Dance Skills are Life Skills” mean to you?
 
SC: I learned so much about perseverance. How push through and do hard things, even when it’s difficult. That has stayed with me to this day.
 
Also, respect. There was a high level of respect we were expected to show to our teachers and each other. That has really carried through, too.
 
Working together and encouraging one another; that sense of team spirit was a focal point at CVDA and has translated to my current profession.
 
My time at CVDA taught me about rising to expectations. To hold myself and others to high expectations is important and valuable to cultivate accomplishment.
 
CVDA: How does Performing Company compare to simply taking classes?
 
SC: PC is not a permanent placement. We auditioned every year. It was nice as I got busier in high school to take a step back and just take classes without the competition commitment.
 
Performing Company showed us discipline and teamwork. It creates lifelong friendships. Dance kept us focused with no time to flounder! PC teaches dancers how to be committed to something. It keeps kids out of trouble, too!
 
CVDA: Do you dance now?
 
SC: No, but I take a lot of classes at Excell, and I believe that my foundation in dance gave me a strong baseline fitness level. I love Turbo Kick, a choreographed kick-boxing class, in addition to Pi-Yo, yoga, and spin classes. I also run and swim laps.
 
CVDA: Anything else?
 
SC: Kristen Stoller! Kristen’s interest in every dancer’s life is incredible. She makes me (and others) feel valued and important. She really cares about the community. 

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