Alison Sherman teaches jazz, acrobatic dance, and her favourite style - ballet - at the Spectrum City Dance studio. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Alison Sherman teaches jazz, acrobatic dance, and her favourite style - ballet - at the Spectrum City Dance studio. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

MVP of the Week: Alison Sherman lands her first position

Dance instructor and master of ballet is working her dream job at Rupert dance studio

Prince Rupert’s Spectrum City Dance studio has been home to a number of impressive dancers during its long history. Sometimes, they even return to develop the next generation of talent.

That is the case with Alison Sherman, an instructor at the studio who began her career within its very walls. A born and raised Rupertite, Sherman began dancing in baby ballet classes at age three. Having gone away to school in order to hone her craft, Sherman has now returned to the studio that originally set her on the path to dance.

Sherman’s dedication to dance was tested with an early choice. A talented young athlete, both soccer and dance were sports she excelled at. But as dance got more serious, and competitions were scheduled for the weekends – conflicting with soccer – Sherman had to shift attention to one or the other.

“My parents asked me which one it was going to be, and there was no question,” Sherman remembers. “It was dance right away.”

Sherman teaches ballet, jazz and acrobatic dancing at the studio. While she enjoys and appreciates all three, (and of course the many other dance genres as well,) her passion lies with the genre of dance that started it all: ballet.

“I really appreciate how it’s the foundation of dance. It’s been around for so long, and that’s where you build your technique,” Sherman explained of her love for ballet. “It’s so beautiful, and there are no limits. You can always go further and further with it.”

“I think it’s really important to lay down strong technique when you are first starting, especially around ages 8-12. When we have kids come in for registration and they are looking at jazz and tap, we really try and push them to take ballet as well.”

Sherman grew up dancing Royal Academy of Dance style ballet, earning her way to provincial competitions for her techniques. She was guided along the way by instructor Ella Ferland, who continues on today as the trusty leader of the studio. Sherman credits Ferland not only for developing her dancing skills, but for introducing her to the role that she has chosen to make a career out of.

“When I was dancing in high school, Ella gave me an opportunity to be a student teacher and choreographer,” Sherman said. “So that’s really where my passion for choreography started. I had choreographed a small group, and we went to three festivals and placed first every time, and it was just like, wow. That was the moment for me where I knew I wanted to keep doing this.”

Sherman now has the chance to teach students in the very same space that she herself learned to dance. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“Doing this” is no easy task though, as Sherman would learn after she graduated from high school. Sherman went to Toronto to study Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers, known as the ADAPT program. Perhaps the premiere dance instruction syllabus in the country, Sherman successfully completed her studies before moving on to Canadian Dance Teachers Association certification. Courses with the Royal Academy of Dance were next, followed finally by an acrobatics dance certification. Having accomplished expert training in her field, Sherman turned her attention to finding the right place to teach.

While her qualifications meant she could have her pick of studios, there was one in particular that Sherman had her eye on. “I knew I wanted to come back to Prince Rupert,” Sherman said. “I had been in contact with Ella, and when I finished my dance teaching certification she asked me if I would want to come back and teach, and I said absolutely.”

READ MORE: Tapping into talent: Spectrum City Dance workshops jazz up the studio

Sherman took the job without hesitation, and has now been teaching at Spectrum for the past seven years. Jazz, acrobatics, and of course ballet make up her course load. She says the inspiration she receives from her students is as strong as ever.

“It’s a really amazing thing teaching, you can really see the kids grow,” Sherman said. “Being a full-time teacher and choreographer, there are quite a few moments where you’re just sitting there in the audience and you’re watching your group that you choreographed on stage, and it just makes you feel really proud and humble.”

“Watching the kids work so hard and then get rewarded for it, it’s a really beautiful thing.”

Another perk of the job for Sherman: being able to work with the instructor that inspired her into a teaching role in the first place.

“Ella has become such a mentor to me, and she really inspires me,” Sherman said.

“I feel like our dance studio is a second home to kids. It was like that for me, and it’s still like that for me.”

Alison Sherman has taught at Spectrum City Dance since 2012. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

A town of Prince Rupert’s size would generally be lucky enough to have one high-level dance studio, let alone two. Sherman believes this speaks to the dedication that students, instructors and parents in town put into the sport, evidenced even more so by the impressive results of Prince Rupert dancers at regional and provincial competitions. The town attracts plenty of renowned guest instructors as well: as Sherman sits down for the interview ADAPT’s Brian Foley and choreographer and actress Bree Wasylenko are conducting a weekend workshop for the Spectrum students.

Sherman plans to make Spectrum her home for many years to come – while also ensuring other dancers see the studio the same way, just as she did growing up.

“For the rest of my life,” Sherman answers to how long she wants to teach dance. “There’s something new every day. You’re always watching the students growing and changing, it’s a really, really cool job.”

READ MORE: MVP of the Week: Duncan Ryan: Once a Rainmaker, always a Rainmaker


Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

DanceMVP of the Week

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Port of Prince Rupert has experienced another year of increased cargo volumes, shipped through the city, with more than $50 billion in international trade facilitated through the area, the Port Authority announced on Jan. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Port cargo volume growth continues despite pandemic obstacles

Prince Rupert Port authority announces $50 billion in international trade

The IIO B.C. is seeking witnesses to an arrest made in Penticton on Nov. 8, during which the male resisted and sustained a head injury. (File Photo)
The Independent InvestigationsOffice of B.C. released a report on Jan. 18 that a Prince Rupert RCMP officer is cleared of any serious harm wrongdoing from a May 29, 2020 incident. (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigation clears Prince Rupert police officer

IIO investigated May 29 incident where woman fell 25 metres in Prince Rupert

Face masks are required to be worn in all SD 52 common areas such as hallways. School District 52 announced on Jan. 15 three different schools in Prince Rupert all had a member of the school community test positive for COVID-19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
3 Prince Rupert schools have positive COVID-19 case(s)

Letters sent home to families in three Prince Rupert schools announcing COVID-19

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

The IIO B.C. is seeking witnesses to an arrest made in Penticton on Nov. 8, during which the male resisted and sustained a head injury. (File Photo)
The Independent InvestigationsOffice of B.C. released a report on Jan. 18 that a Prince Rupert RCMP officer is cleared of any serious harm wrongdoing from a May 29, 2020 incident. (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigation clears Prince Rupert police officer

IIO investigated May 29 incident where woman fell 25 metres in Prince Rupert

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read