Carrie Robins: Illuminating Lives and Inspiring Dreams in the Peace Region
In the heart of the Peace Region resides a remarkable woman whose journey echoes with resilience, passion, and an unwavering commitment to fostering positive change. Carrie Robins, a native of our beloved community, has not only left an indelible mark but has become a beacon of inspiration, particularly in the realm of arts and education.
Carrie's story unfolds against the backdrop of the Peace Region, where her childhood on a farm became a canvas for countless outdoor adventures. As a teenager, she found her calling in the local dance and theatre community, spending hours at the GP Dancers Academy and the Douglas J Cardinal Theatre. It was here that her love for the arts blossomed, as well as leading her to meet her husband on the very theatre stage that still holds a special place in her heart.
Inspired by her grandmother's involvement in founding Grande Prairie Live Theatre, Carrie recognized the vibrant arts community that shaped her upbringing. With a desire to invest in the local arts scene, particularly in providing opportunities for young dancers, Carrie became a driving force for change. She saw the potential to bridge gaps and create a brighter future for aspiring dancers in the Peace Region and went forward with a fulfilling and successful career as a dance educator.
Carrie was an esteemed director of the Academy Dance program in Grande Prairie for over a decade, and has been a driving force in the local dance community. Beyond her directorial role, she contributed to various studios, organized community shows, and raised funds for special events. Known for bringing exciting opportunities to her students, including workshops with notable figures like Stephen Boss, she also orchestrated Canada Day parades, fundraising initiatives, and international trips for dance education.
In continuation of Carrie’s motivation to enhance opportunities for young dancers in this region, she has actively contributed to local theatre productions such as Grease, the Buddy Holly story and Little Mermaid. Notably, Carrie and two other local dance educators, Sheena Leblanc and Lorraine Stapleton, staged two seasons of The Nutcracker Ballet which allowed local dancers to experience performing in a full-length ballet.
Carrie expresses that “One of the most exciting things I was able to do with this program was to build a bridge from GP to the wider dance community by bringing guest master teachers from all over to come work with the dancers of Grande Prairie. The goal was always to allow our local dancers access to high-quality experiences without always having to travel.” She continues, “I am incredibly proud of the experiences the program brought to Grande Prairie. I was able to get dancers involved in our local Alberta Culture Days celebrations such as the Wearable Art Show and every year we staged a Student Choreography Showcase, giving young artists a chance to showcase their choreographic talents. My hope was that through contributing to these entities our youth would be inspired to dream big. To know they can cultivate their passions no matter where they live.”
Her involvement as the Culture Director for the 2018 Alberta Summer Games and as the Dance Director for The Academy Grande Prairie further underscores her dedication to cultural enrichment and youth development.
Currently pursuing a Masters in Arts Education through the Royal Academy of Dance and Bath University, Carrie's journey of personal growth continues. Returning to academia at her age has been both exciting and humbling, igniting a spark that fuels her heart and mind.
In the world of the arts, funding is often a challenge, and Carrie acknowledges the less glamorous aspects of sponsorships, grant applications, and the slow process of ticket sales. Yet, with unwavering patience and determination, Carrie navigated these challenges, relying on the support of a special community that was already ready to support.
For Carrie, the true reward lies in the messages she receives from students expressing gratitude for her role in their journeys. Every note signifies a positive impact, reinforcing her belief that investing in youth is an investment in the community's future.
She imparts a timeless message for future generations: “Believe in yourself and the power that as a woman you hold. Follow the things in life that light you up inside. Look for the spark!”
Recently relocating from Grande Prairie, her departure leaves a void that highlights the impact she had on her students' lives. Acknowledged by every student as a profound supporter in dance and life, Carrie's influence goes beyond the classroom, as she actively supports her former students in all their endeavours.
In recognizing Carrie Robins, we celebrate a leader whose creativity, dedication, and unwavering support have left an enduring legacy in the Grande Prairie dance community as well as many individual lives. Her holistic approach to education and commitment to student success make her a remarkable individual deserving of recognition.
Learn more about Carrie and her continued work in dance education here.
To learn more about 30 Women for 30 Years or to nominate a woman who you think has made a positive impact in the Peace Region, click here.