Remembrance through Dance PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mireya Nunez   

If people we love only truly leave us if when we no longer tell their stories and share their memories, then ‘ will be with us forever. This dance teacher’s friends, family, and the generations of students in our community continue to feel her love and influence.


Carrie Dianda McCoid was a local dance studio owner and teacher who died unexpectedly and suddenly five years ago. For many of us in the local dance community, Carrie’s memory is with us every day and in so many ways. We hear her with us as we work and we feel her with us at the studios with her dancers. Her loving influence is now going beyond those who knew her first hand through the success and expansion of a dance scholarship program, Carrie’s Dream.


I feel so lucky to not only have known Carrie as a mentor and friend but to work in a space that harbored her love and her passion, and was (undoubtedly) her home. Daily, we see Carrie as an inspiration, our motivation to take each day and each dancer with patience and to appreciate our art and the bond we share. We look at each other and smile with tears in our eyes, as someone will casually mention, “Carrie is looking down at us and laughing right now” or “Carrie would have really loved that”. In looking at the teachers around me, my personal heroes, I know that Carrie has and will continue to make us better as we strive to be more like her and learn to approach everything, “With Care”.


The week we lost Carrie, a group of Steps Dance studio staff and family members gathered at the beach to support each other and share their stories. I will never forget Sandra Staka bravely asking those assembled to say Carrie’s three words out loud. In unison, a group of small voices repeated the words “Love, Respect and Honesty”. If you knew Carrie, or ever danced at Steps or Pacific Arts Complex, those words will always mean something to you. Carrie hand painted those words on the wall of her studio, as well as “It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you haven’t yet” and “Visualize your destiny, be amazing”. Dancers and their mentors look to that wall for the inspiration they need; sometimes it is just the comfort in seeing the words as you turn the lights out after a long day at the studio. Other days, we dim the lights to “dance as if no one is watching” and let the dancers move through their own memories and emotions. Whether you knew Carrie or not, you can feel the memory of her love and understand just how much her legacy means.


Carrie believed that all students who wanted to dance should be given that opportunity. After Carrie’s unexpected death, the dance community came together to help realize this vision and launched the Carrie’s Dream Scholarship Fund in her memory. In reviewing applications for Carrie’s Dream over the last few years, there is no doubt that the scholarships are making a positive difference; dancers are feeling supported in and confident through their chosen art form. Students have stated, “I feel like I have become one with myself and so much better than I ever did before” and “What dance means to me is to embrace myself, feel confident and go for my passion and reach for it. It’s not that I won’t make it, it’s that I haven’t yet”.

This strong sense of purpose and impact has kept Carrie’s Dream volunteers pushing to expand the reach of the scholarship program, season after season. In our fourth annual showcase on February 11, 2018, we hope to surpass a goal of raising $100,000 since our founding in 2014. In four years, Carrie’s Dream has helped nearly 100 dancers of all ages, levels, and interests continue to grow through dance. In 2018, we hope to grow the number of scholarship recipients in addition to broadening the scope of our scholarship program, allowing dancers from other studios and programs to have the opportunity to further their dance education, thus fulfilling Carrie’s dream.


The volunteers and dancers who continue to work to fulfill Carrie Dianda McCoid’s dream for the local dance community invite you to join us on February 11, 2018 to witness first hand her legacy. The annual showcases feature over 150 dancers from seven studios and raises funds for local dance scholarships. For more information, visit www.carriesdream.org.




Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 23:01
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