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UCan2 teachers in the spotlight: Part 1

Here at UCan2, we have the BEST teachers from all around the world, filled with immense passion, unwavering determination and innate kindness. However, we understand that might sound a bit biased coming from us. So, we asked our marketing team to interview them, so they could shine the spotlight on some of our incredible teachers, and let you see for yourself how great they are. We'll be sharing part two with more of our teachers in the coming weeks so keep checking back for an update!

First up spotlight on Rachell and Peter van der Veek!


UCan2 Dance Studio Auckland New Zealand Teacher Peter

Peter van der Veek


Where were you born? 


Lisse - The Netherlands


When did dance come into your life?


In the Netherlands, young people joined social dance classes at the age of 15 or 16 years with big groups of friends. There were 5 beginner groups the year I started with over one hundred kids in each one! I enlisted for a beginners course of 28 lessons and learned the basics of 6 dances in that time. The interaction with boys and girls, the fun we had during the lessons and the socials that were organised on Saturday every week was enough reason to be hooked. I stopped following lessons for a few years but not the social events (I did a few Rock and Roll courses) and came back to dancing at 22.    


Who was the most influential person in your life? 


Without any doubt Walter Laird for my dancing career. Other than that, Rachell, as my partner in life. 


What is one fun fact about you? 


I'm about to publish a book!


What was the happiest time of your life? 


Too many to choose from. My dancing career, meeting Rachell, the birth of our daughter Charlie (which was also my biggest challenge), living in Aotearoa. Life is a constant challenge and I love challenges, they make me happy.  


What is your favourite genre or style of dancing?


Again, I can't choose. Latin, Ballroom and I love ballet (although was't very good at it).  


If you had never learned to dance, what do you think you’d be doing now? 


Living as a hippy somewhere in a commune. 


What is one style of dance you wish you learned / could do better? 


Ballet.


What was a time when you felt incredibly proud of your dancing career, as a dancer or as a teacher? 


As a teacher in the Netherlands, we taught beginners for 30 weeks and they were capable of doing 6 dances without my help and enjoying themselves with it. 


As a dancer, winning the Dutch Nationals with Rachell after only being together for 5 months and later during the world championships segue where we were 4th using music that had never been used before. Also performing in Japan with the Malando Tango orchestra during their 5 week tour as their only dancers. 


Why do you teach dancing? What do you get out of it? 


There are several reasons: 1. The pleasure you can give people by learning to move together to a piece of music. 2. The physical challenge that must be explained well at different levels in our form of dance. 3. The interaction with people in general. 4. The creativity that you can deploy while making choreography. 


What is your favourite thing about UCan2 Dance Studio? 


The people that make the studio come to life.


What is your passion, or a favourite hobby, outside of dancing? 


I used to run a lot. I like taking short hikes. I love food. I like writing. 


One piece of advice for aspiring/ beginner dancers? 


Don't make it too difficult. Every step in your development as a dancer should be doable, enjoyable and understandable.   


What do you value most and why? 


Honesty in people and beautiful unspoiled nature. It gives me peace of mind.


What song are you most enjoying dancing to right now? 


Tito Rodriguez - Cuando Ya No Me Quieras. 


What’s the most misunderstood thing about being a dancer?


The misunderstanding that your dancing should be technically correct. 


What’s your favourite quote? 


Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. 


Anything else you’d like to share? 


Whether you see our form of dance as an Art form, Sport or a type of entertainment, it should always radiate the pleasure it is supposed to bring people.  


UCan2 Dance Studio Auckland New Zealand Teacher Rachell

Rachell van der Veek-Jansen


Where were you born? 


Hamilton, Kirikiriroa 


When did dance come into your life?


I started ballet at age 4, first copying my sisters. At intermediate school, aged 11, I met my first teacher of influence doing a combination of jazz, ballet and showdance. She was also the dance choreographer for the Hamilton Operatic Society so from age 13 I danced in musicals, at events and continued classes until at age 15. My girlfriend convinced me to go to Ballroom dancing classes at Virginia Davey studio. I was immediately hooked and a long and fulfilling career was in the making.


Who was the most influential person in your life? 


My Grandad Charlie. And now- my daughter Charlie!


What is one fun fact about you? 


I was painfully shy as a young child (not so fun)


What was the happiest time of your life? 


Travelling the world dancing with my lovely hubby.


What is your favourite genre or style of dancing? 


Latin American.


If you had never learned to dance, what do you think you’d be doing now? 


I always wanted to be a school teacher.


What is one style of dance you wish you learned / could do better? 


Flamenco!


What was a time when you felt incredibly proud of your dancing career, as a dancer or as a teacher? 


The Theater Shows in The Netherlands with our studio's pupils. Every 2nd year we produced a 2 hour show with our students aged 5 to 75. All that they achieved and the fun they had made me burst with pride.


Why do you teach dancing? What do you get out of it? 


I want others to experience the incredible feeling dance produces in your body and mind. My reward is seeing others feel that joy and be proud of themselves.


What is your favourite thing about UCan2 Dance Studio? 


Whanaungatanga- the sense of family and kinship.


What is your passion, or a favourite hobby, outside of dancing? 


Reading.


One piece of advice for aspiring/ beginner dancers? 


Dance because you love to dance, not for any other reason- the JOY is in the JOurneY


What do you value most and why? 


Sincerity. I feel this is one of my greatest qualities and value (expect) this in others.


What’s the most misunderstood thing about being a dancer? 


That dance is not a career path. Countless times I've been asked "What do you do for a proper job?" 


What’s your favourite quote?


In life: Every single Winnie the Pooh quote ever !!!! 


In dance: “Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” ― Martha Graham


Anything else you’d like to share? 


Thank you for opening your arms and hearts to us x If you'd like a look back at Rachell and Peter's dance career, we found this video on Youtube we thought you might enjoy!!!




The caption with the video is; "Just having some fun creating a time line of our dancing career - 1986 till the present. How enjoyable it was x

Excuse the quality of some of the photo's - it was a long time ago ;-)

UCan2 Dance Studio Auckland New Zealand Dance Teachers

If you want to work with any of our amazing teachers, book a lesson with them now or sign up for one of our courses!

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