This week we have the beautiful Tara Pillon as our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! Tara was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and is a professional dancer, choreographer and dance educator. Tara’s undeniable passion for dance is evident in everything she does. Whether she is teaching young children or creating a piece, Tara is committed to delivering nothing short of excellence. What makes this woman so amazing is how she never forgets how blessed she is to do what she loves. She takes no opportunity for granted, and is forever evolving as an artist and human being because of her grateful heart and humble spirit.

Tara received a BFA in Dance Performance from Ryerson University, where she graduated with Honours and made the Dean’s List. Some of her choreography credits include The Tenors, Italian Contemporary Film Festival, Dance Ontario, Echo Chamber, New Blue Festival, Ricarda’s Grand Opening and the Allstate Honor Ring Banquet. Her performance credits include WeDay, Dance Ontario, Dance Made in Canada, PanAm Games, Gadfly, Ballet Creole and Human Body Expression. She can also be seen dancing in the Hallmark film A Nutcracker Christmas and in Diversion, which is a dance film by Avinoam Silverman. Not to mention, Tara received her Certificate in Russian Ballet Pedagogy in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Today, she is the Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder of ACE Dance Theatre and The Ballet Lab.

Tara is the epitome of what it means to be a woman and a genuine example of a YGTGirl! She is strong, determined, kind and compassionate… we could go on. What we admire most about Tara is how she reminds us that we have the power of choice. The ability to decide who we want to be and the path we want to journey down. By choosing to take the road less travelled, she has shown us that it is not up to society, and only up to us to define our role in this world. Tara encourages us to be brave and to always remember that even our wildest dreams are possible with the right attitude. Thank you Tara for inspiring us to take the leap and believe in possibility!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

What do you love most about being a dance artist?

I love so many aspects of being a dance artist.

I am exploring the limits of who I am through this art form, constantly learning more about my strengths and my weaknesses, both mentally and physically. The mental and physical challenges that I face as a dance artist help me to grow and discover more about myself, and the world around me every day. 

Being a dance artist fills my life with inspiration and provides me with opportunities to inspire others as well. That, in and of itself, is something so special – something I never take for granted.

Although in many ways dance is a business, it is personal – one deals with their own emotions and the emotions of others. We are connecting with individuals. Although these two ideas of “business vs. personal” can blur many lines and create challenges, it is one of the things I love most about being a dance artist. I love that what I do is creative and is largely based on connecting and sharing with people. I am both affecting and being affected by those around me every day.

I love the lessons that this art form teaches me, and the life skills that it provides – to be able to express my emotions physically, to set goals and see them come to fruition before my eyes, to do things every day that scare me, to practice patience, to be vulnerable, to accept failure, to deal with competition, to use my body as my instrument. I am constantly working on fine tuning and becoming the best version of myself.

I know there is always more to achieve. There is never a limit or an end when you create – the project is never complete, never perfect – and I feel I am constantly growing because of it.

Dance is both selfish and selfless – I feel it is the perfect combination of both. It is “selfish” with regards to focusing on your own inner thoughts, your own body, and your own goals. It is “selfless” in that you are giving all that you have, every ounce of knowledge, passion, talent, and energy, to move an audience, to inspire others, to make others think, feel, and react.

This art form is truly rewarding and provides a channel to continue to peel back layers and discover my truth, while hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

What makes being a woman uniquely special? Can you tell us about a time you relished in being a woman?

Being a woman is so uniquely special. When I think of a main reason why, I think of the word “duality”. We are paradoxical: neither one thing nor another – we are all things. We are strong and vulnerable, sensitive and fierce, intuitive and kind, loving and empathetic, ferocious and unpredictable. 

I relish in being a woman during this time in history, where I can be so proud to be a part of a forward movement. There is still so much to achieve: to abolish inequality and change society’s perception of gender stereotypes; however, I am proud to be a part of a time when things are changing. Women are constantly shattering the expectations of society and making huge strides. 

A particular time that I have relished in being a woman was when I created one of my first “full length” dance pieces – “Awakening”. This piece embodied and celebrated the strength of a woman in both its physicality and emotional content. It was a part of a larger production that I co-produced with another incredible woman, Liana Bellissimo, called “A Delicate Force”. To use my art form as a channel to celebrate women, and to bring together a group of dancers and audience members that shared in this same goal, was an incredibly fulfilling and gratifying experience.

I also relish in being a woman in my position as a female leader and educator. I am grateful for the opportunity to educate and influence girls during their formative years. I feel that in my position, I have the opportunity to not only teach dance, but to also foster self-confidence, love for others, gratitude, a healthy mindset, and tools for overcoming obstacles and achieving their goals. Having the power to teach these lessons is both a responsibility and privilege, as the skills that developing girls learn through the art of dance can be translated in all areas of their lives.

Tell us about one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make in your life. How did you know you were making the right choice?

One of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life was with regards to my career path. I was always very interested in academics and had to make a critical decision whether I would pursue dance, or take a more conventional route in university and beyond. Academics would have been a safer route for me, with a clearer pathway that would have provided more stability. While dance was a less certain path to choose, it was a risk that I felt was worth taking.

Two of the biggest lessons I have learned when I made this tough decision is that nothing is absolute and that opportunities will often present themselves if you are open to seeing them.

One can always change their course based on the opportunities that present themselves. When one makes a decision, it is important to commit to it, and to have the resolve to work through the hard times. When I first made the decision to pursue dance, I definitely didn’t know if it was the “right” choice. It took years that were fraught with both successes and failures before I truly understood that this was my vocation. There have been many other difficult decisions along the way that I have made in deciding what I am doing in this field, where I am going and who I want to be surrounded by, etc.

I believe that I made the right career choice because I continue to do what brings me joy and fulfills me both professionally and personally.

What do women need to hear right now? If you could give one message to women across the globe, what would it be?

Be creative, open minded and solution oriented. Don’t let stereotypes be a barrier, let them be a goal for you to overcome. There will always be challenges but challenges will always teach you something – don’t let those lessons be forgotten. Celebrate women, lift each other up, inspire and be inspired. There is room in this world for everyone to be successful and there is always a bigger picture.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A YGTGirl is confident and ambitious, she is a go-getter, she has integrity and she is supportive and encouraging of other women. She is a leader, a listener, and an example of how to love yourself and others in the world.