Elizabeth Kmiec [pronounced “keh-meck”], dancer and dance instructor for the Dance Class (TDC), is in this week’s SPOTLIGHT!
In addition to dancing and teaching, Elizabeth has served on the board of directors for Arts Milton for the past 10 years, including five as its president, and is now serving as past-president. She is a passionate advocate for all the arts and arts groups in Milton. As a dance instructor, she is lovingly known as “Miss Lizzy” by her students, and she imbues her young dancers with the passion for movement that she has embodied since she was a child.
Q: Liz, thanks for chatting with me! Tell me a little bit about your dance background.
A: My dance journey began at the age of three with ballet. For many years I trained in ballet and dreamed of being a ballerina. Around age 13, though, I found modern dance and fell in love with dance on an even deeper level. I have trained in many styles but modern is by far my favourite. I love how there are so few restrictions technically and how it creates a connection that is much deeper than simple movement. Honestly, I find it absolutely impossible to explain with words, but ask me to explain in interpretive dance, and that I could do!
Q: How long have you been with The Dance Class?
A: I have been a part of The Dance Class since their beginning, which is… wow, five seasons now! Working at TDC is definitely a dream come true. The Summers family cares so much about dance, the students, their parents, and involving the dancers in the community. One of my favourite aspects of dance is how it can reach a wide variety of people! Different ages, different interests, different perspectives. Community engagement is very important to me. I love how that is a huge part of TDC as well. It really is a big family.
Q: What would you like Milton to know about you personally? Who is Liz Kmiec?
A: I believe in a few simple things: finding what makes you happy and doing that every day, spreading joy to others, being kind, and helping others do these things as well. I am so honoured to be a dance educator and am very thankful that I can share my love of dance and being a good human with children. It keeps me young, and it reminds me to lighten up and enjoy this wild ride we’re on together. They are kind and laugh at my jokes too, even though I am sure they aren’t as funny as I think they are.
I’ve been with my high-school sweetheart for just shy of 19 years now, and there is no way I could have accomplished what I have without his never-ending support. He also keeps me grounded when I may get a little too creative! Scott is definitely the rock holding me, the balloon, just a little bit closer to the earth than I would be without him. My dog, Captain Morgan, is also my very best audience member, and we dance around together often! I know my choreography is getting a little stale if she starts to fall asleep!ﾠ
Q: Your latest show/appearance was “The Nutcracker: A Holiday Spectacular.” What did you enjoy about that? What were some of the challenges?
A: This was a little different from what I am used to! I made a cameo appearance rather than having a dance role, but you definitely don’t have to ask me twice to do anything on stage! I appeared alongside local community groups and artists and young dancers in the Dance Class’ Christmas Spectacular. It was amazing to be on stage with dancers of all ages and abilities, seeing how the magic of the stage is alive and well, and being passed down to younger generations. I just love the stage and am so happy to share that with others! The biggest challenge for me was holding back, and not breaking out into full-on dancing! I just love music of all kinds!!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: In 2013–I can’t believe it was that long ago–I created my first full-length dance performance, and I am hoping to add another full-length show to my resume. I am in the beginning process of grant proposals and currently sourcing funding for a show about the history of Milton. This town continues to change from year to year, and I have some ideas of how I can create a show to celebrate our community and our history. Stay tuned!
Q: Cannot wait to see that, it sounds fascinating! Ok! Here’s our quick-fire round of questions to wrap up your Spotlight. Ready?
Q: What is your favourite thing about Milton?
A: For sure the people that say hi back to me and stop to chat with me on Main Street or other random places. I think we have an amazing community here, sometimes we just need to stop and look around, say hi and meet a new friend.
Q: Favourite restaurant and dish?
A: Hands down Oshima Sushi on Main; I love vegetarian sushi and they have a great selection!
Q: Favourite place in Milton?
A: I love the Fieldgate Atrium in the First Ontario Centre for the Arts Milton (formerly Milton Centre for the Arts). I have spent so much time there and love how in a matter of minutes you can see a wide variety of people enjoying any variety of arts. It’s a great place to people-watch and of course, make new friends.
Q: Favourite colour
Q: Who else do you think I should interview for a Spotlight, and why?
A: Melanie and Bob from The Milton Show Choir! They do such amazing work with children and help them gain confidence through song and dance – and they are huge supporters of the arts in Milton too!
Q: You’re absolutely right, Bob and Melanie are fabulous, and I’ll be chatting with them again in the near future. I love that we have such a vibrant arts community here in Milton, what a pleasure it is to delve deeper and bring you all into the Spotlight! Thanks, Liz, really appreciate your time.
A: Anytime! I’m always happy to talk about the arts…it’s a good thing we had a word limit!