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Dance Performance & Teaching graduate Alana Koolen tells us about her experience

BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching, 2017

UCLan Dance Performance and Teaching graduate, Alana Koolen, has fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a dance instructor in her home country of Canada.

Since the age of three, Alana has aspired to be a dance teacher and regularly took dance classes in pursuit of her passion. When it came to choosing her degree course, Alana was interested in studying overseas and decided on the Dance Performance and Teaching course at UCLan because of the course leader’s energy and enthusiasm and different studies involved.

Following graduation in 2017, Alana moved back home to Canada and started work as a part-time dance instructor at three different dance studios. Alana stated that she got her first job “based on her dissertation research and experience gained at UCLan”. Alongside working, Alana completed two dance teaching certifications, one from the Society of Russian Ballet in Vaganova Ballet and the other from the Association of International Dance Teachers (AIDT).

Alana Koolen
Alana Koolen

Alana now works as a full-time dance instructor at Essence of Dance Inc, PULSE Dance Centre and Dance Trance Talent Agency, where she teaches recreational and competitive dance. Her duties include class planning, choreography, finding costumes and music, attending studio events and trips.

Reflecting on her time at UCLan, Alana has lasting memories of playing in the women’s rugby team, group projects for the course and taking part in competitions with the UCLan Dance team. A particular highlight of Alana’s was the second year physical performance in collaboration with the music course. In relation to this project, Alana said: “This project created a bond between my course mates and I. We are still in touch and often help each other with professional problems”.

When asked what advice she would give to graduates wanting to pursue a similar career path, Alana said: “The best advice I can give is that once you know what you want to do in your life it is surprisingly easy to accomplish it. What holds people back is the indecision and other distractions. Say yes to everything in university because once you graduate, real life begins”.