Image shows young woman leaping in a full splits in the air on a beach.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Kotoe Uchida loves to dance. Expressing herself through ballet has been a big part of her life for fourteen years, primarily in her home country of Japan.

“Dancing makes both performers and audiences happy,” she says. “I love watching the audiences coming out of a theatre after a showcase because they are smiling every time.”

In 2019, Kotoe made a decision to further her education in Canada and enrolled in the General Management diploma program at College of the Rockies.

“I chose the College because the environment around it is so beautiful. And I thought the small classes would suit me as well,” she said.

Not willing to put her love of dance aside while in Canada, Kotoe was embraced by the local dance community and welcomed into the Kootenay Academy of Dance. Performing with the Academy provided Kotoe with the opportunity to continue to pursue her passion, and opened the door for new experiences.

“Though I have been dancing for 14 years, I had never taken part in a ballet competition,” she said. “My first was the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival in March. I was so nervous.”

Kotoe apparently hid her nerves well; she danced away from her first competition with the gold!

Her dance experience in Cranbrook was so special for Kotoe, she made plans to extend her stay so she could take part in the Dance Academy’s year-end production at Key City Theatre.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Because of the uncertainty around travel that arose because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kotoe needed to return home to Japan.

“I was so sad when I had to decide to go back to Japan,” she said. “I was really looking forward to performing the dances at the year-end production, but I was really worried about my family.””

Though earlier than she had hoped, Kotoe returned safely home where she, her family, and friends are all doing well. She was grateful to be able to complete the remainder of her semester online from Japan.

She hopes to return to the College in the fall to complete her program but, for now, the situation remains uncertain. Whether she is able to return or not, she’s grateful for the time she spent in Cranbrook, and for the warm welcome she received here.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me to have such an awesome time in Cranbrook,” she said.

We hope to see you again in September, Kotoe. Until then, keep dancing.