We often take for granted our access we have to historic landmarks in our community. The Sanderson Centre, as Brantford’s primary entertainment venue, has hosted headline acts, local high school plays, community events, movies, and dance recitals since 1919.
It has taken attendance at two events this year, the Brantford Comedy Festival and Tweetstock 4, to remind me how important this building is to me.
Growing up, I spent a number of years at the dance studio in Ancaster with my sister. Classes would start in September, and we would religiously attend week after week practicing the same moves, building on a routine, 8 count by 8 count. My parents would have to listen to the same song for months as we practiced to get our timing and moves right, all for those 2 minutes of fame on stage.
Saturday morning of the big weekend in the spring, we would pack up our spandex-sequined costumes, jazz shoes, and head to Brantford for the dress rehearsal. As a kid, I remember thinking how professional it felt to be on that stage. Bright hot lights, tape marks, distressed wood from previous performances, it was all so exciting. Looking back at the videos, we were always a mash-up of curly-haired copies of each other, missing a bit, stumbling over one another, but it felt great.
The next morning, we would head back to the theatre, find our spot in the back changing rooms, pin-up the curly ponytail with 40 bobby pins and a can of ICE hairspray, throw on the Love That Red Revlon lipstick and meet-up with the rest of our class to practice a couple more times before heading backstage.
When I think about my years of dancing, and the many recitals I have been in, the Sanderson Centre will always feel like home. Hearing bare feet run around the change rooms, practicing in hallways we weren’t supposed to (my apologies to the Sanderson Centre staff), and nervous giggles and chatter coming from backstage were all part of my childhood.
It seems silly to have had a children’s recital at such a recognized venue, and it seems strange to put your kids in all that make-up with all that hairspray. But it was worth it. Every moment, every nervous butterfly, every beat. With the versatility the Sanderson Centre has to offer, there is no doubt that it will continue to be a major attraction and part of the foundation for our community. I look forward to watching many more performances, big and small for years to come. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll get the chance to go backstage and spend some time in those change rooms again.