Through the Eyes of our Youth Volunteer Coordinator

Lindsay: Hello everyone in the blogosphere!

I’m happy to be writing my first blog-post as a GCDF staff member and, for that matter, my first blog! I’m the new Volunteer Coordinator, and have had the privilege of working with the fabulous GCDF staff team for a few months now. I’m just graduating from the University of Guelph with a BA in International Development and, looking back, the Dance Festival has been one of the few constants throughout my four years here, first as an audience member, then as a volunteer, and now as a staff member.

I started dance when I was 4 and started teaching when I was 14, so when I moved to Guelph from rural Ottawa it was important for me to find my way in the dance community here. In my first year, I barely left campus. I took a few classes at the Athletic Centre and joined a hip hop troupe called Rhythm Invasion, which has since disbanded. After moving out of residence, I spent more time in the city and finally got a taste of all that Guelph has to offer. I regret that I allowed myself to get stuck in the campus bubble in my first year here. A friend of mine discovered the Dance Festival and got us tickets, and I’ve been hooked ever since! It really is impressive that a city the size of Guelph has such an enthusiasm and following for dance.

By making connections with people in the dance scene, I was able to find classes that were better suited for me. The dance community in Guelph has proven to be very friendly and supportive, not to mention tight-knit. So I saw a lot of the same smiling faces at classes, workshops, and events, and felt very comfortable in my decision to create a second home for myself in Guelph.

I was asked to be an Artist Host for one of the series at the River Run Centre, and I excitedly agreed—without much knowledge of what I’d actually be required to do! It was a steep learning curve, but it was so fun and so inspiring to be a part of the magic. I will never forget lugging around all of the stereos required for Susie Burpee’s piece, and being able to see the show from the wings of Co-operators Hall. Susie was such a sweetheart, and I remember thinking how lucky we are as a Dance Festival to work with the least diva-like dancers around!

I think it is the energy and camaraderie of the Dance Festival that keeps everyone coming back for more. I was happy to serve as an Artist Host again last year, and it was much easier the second time around! The pieces required significantly less (wo)manpower for setup and take down, so I was able to spend most of my time hanging out with Billy Bell’s Lunge Dance Collective. Watching these young dancers work was incredible – their bodies are such machines! I gained a lot of insight into the creative process by watching some of the technical rehearsals over the last two years, and I recommend volunteer experiences like this to all dancers and dance supporters!

I’m excited to see how the Dance Festival will be different for me this year, now that I’m a staff member. I certainly have a better appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication it takes to pull off all of our programming! I only hope that, through my position, I can support the other staff members and open doors for other young arts enthusiasts. We would love to have you on board! Please check out our website for volunteer opportunities or send me a message at [email protected].

Lindsay is the new Volunteer Coordinator with the GCDF, after having volunteered during her time in university as an International Development student. She will be graduating this summer and then taking a year off to work and travel before pursuing a graduate degree. She is hoping to combine her two passions—dance and development—and is thankful for the support she has felt in the Guelph community.

1 thought on “Through the Eyes of our Youth Volunteer Coordinator”

  1. Lindsay, you are such an incredible addition to the GCDF team! I love seeing this photo of you as a dancer too!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on being so involved for the last 4 years. I hope we can be a big part of your future too!


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