For Ainsley Sudds, dance has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Not only does she see dance as a beautiful way of physically expressing herself, she also sees it as a form of worship.

“For me, dance and my spirituality have been one my whole life […] from a young age I learned to bring my faith and my physical expression of dance together,” says Sudds.

Ainsley Sudds is a director and dance instructor at Crossings Dance Ministries and a dance instructor at the School of Alberta Ballet. Produced by Sarah Green

“It just has always been fused in my mind, and so for me it’s been not just an expression of worship, but it’s been a way of developing my own faith and my own understanding of who I am and who God created me to be.”

Sudds has dedicated the entirety of her life to dance because she sees it as a universal language that has the power to touch the hearts of many.

“Dance is a form of communication […] It crosses all language barriers, it crosses all religion barriers, it crosses all cultural barriers —  and it just brings us back to humanity.”

Currently, Sudds is a director and dance instructor at Crossings Dance Ministries as well as a dance instructor at the school of Alberta Ballet. Her biggest passion is mentorship within teaching.

Sudds is using dance as a way to walk with her students throughout their life journeys.

“I see the struggles that [my students] are going through, not just with dance, but in life, and I feel very close to my own teenage self. I feel like I am very able to walk them through that,”  Sudds said.

“It’s amazing hearing from my students about how dance is an escape for them from their struggles.”

Sudds is very familiar with the struggles that are presented both inside and outside of the dance studio. She has experienced many personal challenges throughout her dance journey.

After completing her student training, Sudds went to the University of Calgary to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance. During this time in her life, Sudds almost left dance completely.

“I went through a lot of struggles in taking something that had just been a passion and a joy and an activity and all of a sudden making it an academic, graded, critiqued thing.”

However, throughout these trying times, Sudds was reminded that dance was her calling.

“I’ve thought numerous times, ‘Do I leave dance? How would I leave dance? What would my life look like without dance?’” Sudds said.

“But there’s that deep urge within me that has never left. It’s always pulled me back, I know it will always be in my life.”

Sudds doesn’t know where her dance journey will take her, but she firmly believes that God has placed dance in her life for a reason.

“Dance is at a place in my life where I am choosing it and I’m getting to share it. I would call it a calling. I’m not sure what the full calling is though. I don’t have the answers yet.”

sgreen@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this video is Tayari Skey and can be contacted at tskey@cjournal.ca