My Time At Fort Wayne Dance Collective
By: Kaitlyn Bestul
My name is Kaitlyn Bestul and I’m a senior at Woodlan Jr./Sr. High School. You might have seen me either tap dancing at Taste of the Arts, spinning on my head in Hotel Hysteria, or running around the studio working to get things organized before big events. This is my first year of having any involvement with Fort Wayne Dance Collective and I’m honestly sad I did not get involved sooner in my high school career. I have already learned more in my few months interning here than I could have imagined!
To give y’all a short summary about me, I basically don’t remember a part of my life that I wasn’t dancing. I started dance at about the age of 6 in tap with my sister. Over the past 11 years, I have studied dance at Janice Dyson Studio of Dance (Janis Dyson and Christina Dambra), Tiffany and Company Studio of Dance (Tiffany Winling, Allyson Reece, Sammi Jennings, Emilee Nees, and Haley Heath), and Northeast School of Dance (Ann Slen, Michele Schiebel, Mackenzie Sanders, and Jessica Menor). I’ve studied/competed any style you could think off: tap, jazz, musical theatre, hip-hop, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and ballet. Aside from dance, I also enjoy cheerleading, cuddling with my dogs, and dreaming of my perfect Disney wedding that I’ll never be able to afford.
While I have always loved the rush of competition dance, there is something about Fort Wayne Dance Collective that drew me in. I have always known that I want to open my own dance studio when I grow up and that I want to inspire and promote positivity in this world. Until recently I did not know how to incorporate both. A theatre friend of mine had recommended checking out FWDC for internship opportunities. I instantly fell in love with the concept and work being done in the community. If I had a perfect description of what my future studio would look like, I would want a studio like FWDC! The organization is truly unique!
I have met dozens of kind and talented souls in my dance career, but I will never forget meeting everyone my first day at FWDC. Mandie, Ashley, Elise, and Cassie accepted me as if I had been here for years and was just returning from a super long trip. And these ladies are real life superheroes, y’all! These ladies pour so much time and effort into everything FWDC! And don’t even get me started on the first day of Hotel Hysteria rehearsals for Mandie’s Halloween piece! I remember talking to my parents after rehearsals saying how I was “way in over my head” trying to perform with Mandie’s cast of dancers. Needless to say, I fit right in and the performance was a huge success.
I have learned that working at a non-profit means that I never know what my workdays will consist of. One day I could be making costumes for Mandie. The next day I am typing up silent auction sheets for Elise. Then I’m asked if I can perform tap solos and dance in upcoming performances. The people here at FWDC keep me on my toes and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for me this year!
If you see me around, don’t be shy. Say “hi”!