Dancing with Dad

Dance teacher Kim Shatzko’s newest student is her dad, Pete Shatzko

  • Jun. 18, 2017 1:30 a.m.

Cara Brady

Morning Star Staff

Kim Shatzko was barely eight years old when she announced to her parents that she was going to be a dance teacher.

“They said, ‘Of course you can.’ They always encouraged me,” said Kim, who has been teaching dance since 2009.

“I love teaching and I want my students to be as happy as I was learning to dance and as I still am to teach and to keep learning myself.”

While all her students are special to her, there’s one she’s especially proud of — her dad, Pete Shatzko, who started taking lessons from her two years ago and recently performed a duet on stage with her at the Argyll School of Performing Arts year-end recital.

“Two years ago, Kimmie had a male tap dance instructor and I thought that was pretty neat and something I wanted to try,” said Pete, a retired engineer, who got private lessons from Kim at his home studio in a converted garage. Kim’s mother, Pat, also takes tap dance lessons, but in a class and doesn’t feel ready to perform yet.

The family was always more active in sports but Pete and Pat encouraged their daughters, Amanda and Kim, in their dance lessons.

“We were pretty loose in allowing the kids to do what they were interested in. I didn’t ever think I would be dancing or taking lessons from my daughter,” Pete said, recalling the years he and his wife spent taking the girls to dance lessons, recitals and competitions.

Kim credits her good start in dance when she was three to Debbie Banks at the Okanagan School of Ballet where she went on to earn her Royal Academy of Dance teaching certificate. She also studied other dance forms and is qualified to teach jazz, tap, contemporary, lyrical, zumba, hoop and street dance. She has been at Argyll School for a year.

“It was lots of fun teaching Dad. He listens well and was eager to follow instructions. He learned quickly,” she said.

Pete added, “It took a lot of patience on her part but it was easy to follow her instructions and I just learned one step at a time. She is an awesome teacher and choreographer. I got a lot of compliments on the performance but it’s really Kim who made it all happen. We’re proud of her.

“I’m going to continue lessons and I might perform again next year. I’m going to keep on taking lessons and if anyone wants to join in, they’re welcome to.”

Kim thinks there is dance talent in the family — her grandfather used to do the Irish jig and her uncle, Mike Shatzko, 81, was a one-time dancer at Halina Centre until recently. She’d like to get her mother into the dance act sometime.

“I like the music I grew up listening to and we could do a lot with that,” said Kim. “I’m grateful that my parents helped me with my ambition to be a dancer and dance teacher. There is so much in dance, the enjoyment of learning, the commitment to learn and the sense of achievement, keeping traditional forms of dance going and taking part in new creations. You never stop learning.”

She and Pete like their time together for lessons, to talk as well as learn.

“I would say to anyone of any age to find lessons in the dance that attracts them and to come and try it out. It’s easier than you think. Just take it one step at a time,” Pete said.

Kim is already looking forward to and planning for her fall teaching.

“I am going to add a parent and child, toddler age, for kids who aren’t quite ready to have lessons on their own yet and maybe a mother and daughter class where they can support each other. I have lots of ideas and always like to hear more. I know I’m going to keep dancing until my body gives out.”

The family will be spending Fathers’ Day together, going out for breakfast and just hanging out.

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