New owner keeps Cadance all in the family
BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Gaea Jess is taking over from her mom as director and owner of Cadance in Kentville. Her dance career started under Linda Jess’s tutelage as a child. Later, she began to teach and choreograph locally.
In 1996, she moved to Toronto to further her career in dance and expanded into health and wellness. In 2001, Jess graduated from York University with a double major degree in dance and kinesiology. During her time at York, she received several awards for overall achievement.
Also involved in the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Jess studied extensively different world dances, espe cially East Indian. In kinesi ology, she specialized in Learned Self-Regulation, which involves teaching peo- ple to train their bodies to run at an optimal level.
After university, Jess traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and Australia while teaching health and wellness classes at various resorts. In 2003, she arrived back in Canada and moved to Calgary. There, she trained and taught at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.
Jess was also a member of an eclectic dance group called the 12th Avenue Dance Company. She choreographed works and put them in vari- ous shows including the Calgary Dance Explosion Festival.
Involved in the health and wellness field as well, Jess was employed by renowned Canadian fitness guru Helen Vanderberg at her health clubs.
Jess became a mind/body specialist after completing her Stott Pilates certification and Fusion (yoga/Pilates) certification. This led her to
teach and offer personal training at various facilities in Calgary.
Recently, Jess returned to her roots in Nova Scotia to take over her mother’s dance academy. She has already been working with synchronized skaters on expression and focus.
“I really love the Valley,” Jess says. “It’s the most beautiful place on the planet.” While it wasn’t a move her daughter intended, Linda says she was glad to hand over the reins after 25 years with the Cornwallis Dance Academy.
“I can truthfully say that even in my dreams I never thought of contributing as much and accomplishing as much in life as this school of dance has made possible for me,” she said.
Linda says through the school she has been able to touch many young lives. “I feel their association with the academy has contributed to making them the fine people they are today.”
Now it’s time to hang up her shoes. Veteran dance teacher Allison Carey paid tribute recently to Linda’s honesty, generosity and the belief she had in her students.
“She has spent the past 25 years encouraging students. to go further, try new things and develop their own creativity,” Carey said. “One of the reasons our recitals are so long is because she allows so many students to spread their wings and choreograph their own numbers.”
Last year Cadance had 250 students; certainly an increase from 140 seven years ago. Jess says classes are still open for registration and she’s offering several new options. Her assistant Sabrinia Patterson and five other teachers will also keep the school hopping.
“I leave with all the confidence in the world,” Linda said. She and her well-known writer husband, Cameron, are heading out on a long an- ticipated world cruise.