South Surrey-raised Nathalie Heath performs on So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

South Surrey-raised Nathalie Heath performs on So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

South Surrey dancer moves to new project with studio

Nathalie Heath draws on international training and experience to help young artists move towards careers in dance

South Surrey-raised dancer, choreographer and instructor Nathalie Heath knows dance – and the dance world – inside and out.

She’s danced everything from ballet to jazz, hip-hop, modern contemporary, tap and professional-level ballroom.

She may be best known locally for finishing in the top three among female finalists in So You Think You Can Dance Canada in 2010, but her professional film and television dance credits include doubling for Hilary Duff in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, appearing in the video for Michael Buble’s Haven’t Met You Yet, being chosen as principal, choreographer and motion-capture dancer for the series of Barbie movies, and appearances in Once Upon A Time, Mr. Young and Hellcats.

Live appearances have included touring with Victoria Duffield, performing at the 40th annual Juno Awards with Shawn Desman, and in the Canadian Olympics opening ceremonies.

Now Heath is taking on what is, conceivably, an even more important responsibility – as artistic director of a new 1,300-square-foot studio, Dance Effect (#105 – 15272 Croydon Dr.), catering to students aged three to 18.

Offering both competitive and recreational programs, Heath said she is drawing both on her own experience and training with such companies as Joe Lanteri’s New York Dance Alliance, the Broadway Dance Centre and the Alberta Ballet School.

In starting Dance Effect, she’s grateful for the guidance and encouragement of longtime mentor, Susie Green, with whom she trained from an early age at Crescent Beach-based Joy of Movement studio and in international dance events with Green’s Visions Dance Company.

Starting a new dance school would be a daunting proposition for most 27-year-olds, but Heath says she’s not only enthusiastic about the challenge but feels a strong sense of mission going back to the days when, as an integral part of being a senior Visions dancer, she was helping mentor younger students.

“I always had this in the back of my mind,” she said.

“I’ve enjoyed so much working with young people and seeing them grow. I always thought one day when I was ready, and done with my dancing, I’d give that back – and obviously the best place to do it is where I grew up. This is my new way of staying involved in it.”

While some Dance Effect classes will be geared strictly to recreation – which Heath acknowledges is a great outcome in itself – she said she’s also concerned with providing an opportunity for students who are ready to take dance in a more professional direction.

She said she plans to offer students workshops with some of the internationally recognized performers and choreographers she has worked with, and has been heartened at the willingness of professionals to help her in her venture – but not surprised.

“The most successful people are often the most humble – it will always win at the end of the day,” she said. “Based on talent, you might get attention, but the people who get the jobs and continue to work, it’s because of their attitude and work ethic – not because they’re a talented, egotistical narcissist.”

As much as Heath has been involved in dance competition in the past, she said she realizes the truth of what she’s always been taught – that there are more important things than winning trophies and prizes.

“We can’t lose sight of the big picture here,” she said. “I’d rather have a committed group that works hard and loves it, rather than being a group that’s continually beating themselves up and getting first place.

“I’m all about working hard and striving for first place, but my focus is on the growth and the constant challenge and having them excited about dance.”

For more information, visit www.danceeffect.ca

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

Just Posted

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)
Blaine inn owner’s challenge of immigration act fails

Robert Boule’s trial on human-smuggling charges set to begin August 2021

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Most Read