***Big thank you to Pam for agreeing to be our first pro/am profile!
Name: Pamela (Pam) Hewitt
Professional: Yuriy Shelkovyy
Lives in: Ottawa, Ontario
Occupation: Manager with the federal public service
Age Category: A
Current Level: Open Advanced
Styles Danced: Standard, Latin (and Ballet)
Hours Spent Dancing in an Average Week: 10-15
Lessons in an average week: currently 2.5 – usually one standard, one latin (which sometimes gets spent on standard) and a half lesson on latin technique
Dancing for (years): 6
Favourite Canadian Competition:
No favourite, but I do have a few with special memories: Extravaganza Montreal, which was my first competition… Toronto Open, where I danced (and won!) open scholarship for the first time… Tulip Classic, where I had a breakthrough and finally figured out how to really dance at a competition…
Notable titles/dance accomplishments:
I don’t really keep a list, but the recent ones and the ones that stand out in my memory are:
- 2017 and 2018 NDCC Pro-Am Standard A Champion
- 2018 NDCC Pro-Am A 10-dance Champion
- 2018 Michigan Dance Challenge Open A Standard Scholarship Champion
- 2015 Toronto Open A Standard Scholarship Champion
Do you cross-train?
Yep. On top of ballroom lessons and practice, a week usually sees me do 1-2 ballet classes, a pointe class, 1-2 yoga or pilates classes and 1-2 sessions at the gym. I’ve learned that if I don’t take steps to stay fit and strong, I get injured… and that is no fun at all!
Where do you get your dresses?
I make them! Taking something from an idea to a finished product is a fantastic creative outlet.
What brand and model are your shoes?
For standard, I wear Supadance 1012s in a 2 1/2” contour heel, and have since the very beginning. I’m also in Supadance for latin at the moment – the 1063s in a 3” heel.
Hope for the future of Pro/Am in Canada:
I see a future where pro-am is a viable path for talented dancers, with large domestic fields at high levels and an option to compete internationally. The last couple of years (notably the addition of a national championship) have made me feel like this might be coming…
Message to Other Dancers:
The best advice I have ever gotten: “Trust your coaches, but trust yourself more. Only you know what you are truly capable of.”
Why do you dance pro-am?
Honestly, I am a reluctant pro-ammer… I haven’t been able to find a partner, so I dance pro-am. I am incredibly grateful to have an option that lets me compete and continue to improve while I search!
Why do you compete?
I didn’t start dancing to become a competitor. I fell in love with the process of chasing continual improvement, and after a while, it became silly to NOT be competing!
Why do you dance your styles?
I dance standard because there are these moments where the music and the movement and the partnership come together, and it feels like there’s no where else in the world that you would rather be. I would live in those perfect moments forever, and am definitely a standard dancer at heart.
About a year and a half ago, I started dancing latin again (I hadn’t danced it since bronze!), because I was feeling a little restless. I dance it now because it scares me a little! It definitely doesn’t feel natural or come easy, and it reminds me every day that if you work hard at something it will come.
I dance ballet because it’s not only good for my ballroom, but because there’s something meditative about barre exercises. I call it my yoga… plus, I get to play with pointe shoes and tutus 😊
What is your dance goal?
That’s an intimidating question! I’ve accomplished pretty much all of them, except for the one that is beyond my control… someday, I dream of hearing “representing Canada” attached to my name.
I started dancing as an adult. I wasn’t fortunate enough to grow up somewhere or in a financial situation where dance was possible. Hard work – and that includes working on the unpopular or boring things – can take you a long way, and bring you to a point where people assume you’ve been doing this your whole life. It’s never too late, so dream big!