Some of Michelle Henly’s best days are on the floor, teaching.
“It just all came together,” she explains looking back on her varied – and worldwide – careers.
Henly is one of the owners and ballet director of Triple Heat Dance Academy of Performing Arts in Tin Town, and a dancer who began at a young age who had teaching in her blood.
“I started off in Highland dance, and went to the National Ballet in Toronto for two years,” she says. “I then went to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for three years … when I was 17 and in Grade 12, I decided not to pursue ballet as a professional career.”
Henly, who grew up in B.C.’s Interior, moved to Toronto and studied musical theatre for two years. When she realized that wasn’t quite the right fit, she decided upon a teaching career which took her first to the U.K, and then Kuwait.
Doubling as both a dance and physical education teacher (dance is a mandatory class in the U.K. for Grades 7-9), Henly began teaching a variety of dance styles.
She then made the shift to the Middle East to join the dance faculty for a British international school.
“I taught children from all over, and I really fell in love with being in charge,” she adds with a laugh. “I worked closely with the theatre department and I loved thinking of and planning shows.”
Henly’s parents, who retired to the Comox Valley, worked in Uganda while she was in Kuwait, helping build schools. While there, in consultation with Henly, they adopted a nine-year-old orphaned boy, and Michelle agreed to become his legal guardian.
It was at that time Henly decided to return to Canada and open a studio teaching dance – her passion.
“Everything fell into place,” she explains, and adds the business came together with the help of Triple Heat co-owners and fellow faculty Livea Harding and Tamara Telford, who teach performing arts and musical theatre, respectively.
With 175 to 200 students, and 23 ballet classes a week, Henly credits her love of dance to the key to finding her joy in her work.
“I am passionate about what I do, and the minute I’m in the studio, all the world’s problems go away, along with my faith in God, and good support from my family and two (business) partners.”
For more information or registration, visit tripleheatdance.com.