Style Profile – The Beaches Village: Kristy Van Hoven

Name: Kristy Van Hoven
Occupation: PhD Candidate (University of Leicester) and Artistic Director (Guthrie School of Dance)
Age: Knees of a 90-year-old, Humor of a 12-year-old
Lifestyle: The world is my stage…

 

Black Tropical Floral Kensington Aline Dress by Toronto label FunkD; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto jewelry label burfurtART

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

Coffee, tunes, dance, and some writing, but mostly coffee!

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

Seizing opportunities to make a positive change in people’s lives. I may have a crazy hectic schedule but my family and friends are always on my mind. I work to create opportunities for people to connect with their history, remember their past, and have a well balanced future, both emotionally and physically.

 

Original sleeveless top by Toronto designer Yasmine Louis (available in stores only); High Rise Straight Crop Jeans – Normandie by Montreal label Yoga Jeans; Sylvia Tote in Blue by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

You’re currently doing your PhD and exploring the positive impact of museums on the memory and cognitive health of visitors with Alzheimer’s. Could you tell us a little bit about your work and how you chose this focus?

 

This could be a novel in and of itself ūüôā

 

I used to be the curator of collections at a world class hospital where I would routinely meet patients and have meaningful discussions about their cultural background, how their previous lives play a role in their healthcare and how important museums are in providing a place of solitude and a safe space to find acceptance or process grief.

 

Dandelion Print Julia Tunic in Pink by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in White (also available in Boreaux and Black and White Polka Dots by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd; Kim Convertible Backpack in Blue (also available in Black and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

After completing my Master’s I developed an object-based hospital program for oncology patients, which provided an opportunity for patients to connect with each other and the history of the hospital. Upon completion of the weekly program, patients felt more relaxed and able to face the next stages of their treatment.

 

Jennifer Tee in Purple (made from organic cotton and bamboo and also available in Black and Charcoal) designed by Fresh Collective’s very own Palette by Laura-Jean; Jupe Charrie pas by Montreal label Creations Encore; Raspberry Margaret Clutch & Crossbody Purse by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

In many cases, patients returned to the program regularly as they faced new challenges associated with their diagnosis and treatments. There are a few instances where family members came back to the museum to tell me how their ill family member had spoken fondly of the museum and program throughout their treatment, and despite the terminal diagnosis, they were happiest when participating in the museum program.

 

Pop Floral Print Shelly Slouch Dress in Black (also available in White) by Toronto label Mandala

 

All the while I was acting as a caregiver to my grandmother who was starting to show signs of dementia. My PhD was born.

 

When I moved to Toronto a couple years ago I connected with a hospital that specializes in brain health who had developed a similar model for helping their patients to object based programs.

 

Together we built a solid program for their memory care patients, which led to some tremendous results around reactivating memories and physical abilities during object-based programs.

 

 Black Tropical Floral Kensington Aline Dress by Toronto label FunkD; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto jewelry label burfurtART

 

The future is bright for Museum Therapy and I look forward to starting my consultancy RxMuse upon the defense of my dissertation in 2018. 

 

You’ve been a Scottish Highland dancer for quite some time and seem very dedicated to this tradition. When did you discover your passion for dance and what kind of role does it play in your life?

 

Scotland is in my blood and after years of classical ballet training I traveled to Scotland to meet family. When I was there I was introduced to Highland and Ceilidh dancing and fell in love with it.

 

Original sleeveless top by Toronto designer Yasmine Louis (available in stores only); High Rise Straight Crop Jeans – Normandie by Montreal label Yoga Jeans; Sylvia Tote in Blue by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

A passion for this athletic art form was born and I started in highland dance at 13. I competed throughout North America and Scotland regularly and eventually competed at the World Highland Dance Championships in Cowal, Scotland at the “old age” of 21 (Highland dancers used to retire from competitive dancing between 18 and 22).¬†

 

Dandelion Print Julia Tunic in Pink by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in White (also available in Boreaux and Black and White Polka Dots by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd; Kim Convertible Backpack in Blue (also available in Black and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

Once I returned to the States I sat the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance membership exam and passed on my first try! Shortly there after I opened Guthrie School of Dance.  My primary mission has always been to create classes and a school that provide a welcoming atmosphere for dancers of any age or ability. 

 

Jennifer Tee in Purple (made from organic cotton and bamboo and also available in Black and Charcoal) designed by Fresh Collective’s very own Palette by Laura-Jean; Jupe Charrie pas by Montreal label Creations Encore; Raspberry Margaret Clutch & Crossbody Purse by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

Like many elite sports, most top coaches and teachers focus on competitively driven students, but I wanted to create a space for others to unlock their potential.  When I started teaching I very quickly had a whole class of students who faced challenges in regular classrooms and extra-curricular activities. 

 

Parents were desperately looking for a unique opportunity for their children and hoped that dance would be the answer. 

 

Pop Floral Print Shelly Slouch Dress in Black (also available in White) by Toronto label Mandala

 

In class I would explore academic topics like math and science, history, social studies and encourage story telling, both by having the student learn the traditional stories behind our competitive dance roster, and by allowing students to create their own dances and stories which we would show case at summer farmer’s markets and cultural fairs throughout the area.¬†

 

Shortly after the word of success of these classes got out, adults and retired dancers came calling, looking for a place to dance. 

 

Original sleeveless top by Toronto designer Yasmine Louis (available in stores only); High Rise Straight Crop Jeans – Normandie by Montreal label Yoga Jeans; Sylvia Tote in Blue by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

Ah, legacies are a weird thing… I hope each of my students and patients remembers the fun we had and the trips we have taken together (through walks down “memory lane” in a museum, or traveling to highland games and shows).

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

Fashion is an expression of who you are, and where you are going. It’s one of the easiest risks to take and one of the most fun!

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

The vibe in the store is amazing, the products are all so wearable and well… penguin clutches… you can never go wrong with penguins!

 

Dandelion Print Julia Tunic in Pink by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in White (also available in Boreaux and Black and White Polka Dots by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd; Kim Convertible Backpack in Blue (also available in Black and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What do you have that you want to promote?  (We have a large audience to share your project with- go on and shamelessly self-promote!

 

I’d like to promote the Guthrie School of Dance! It has always provided multiple classes for dancers who have outgrown the competitive highland scene but look to dance (and highland especially) for their weekly exercise and social time.

 

Did you know you burn more calories in an hour of Highland class than you would in a game of soccer?  Today, Guthrie School of Dance as students in three countries and helps develop competitions and special events for dancers of any age and ability. 

 

Our focus is on learning about dance and movement, our shared Scottish history (or interest… you don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy a good Highland Fling!) and developing lifelong healthy habits and friends.

 

More information about the school, our shows, classes and how to bring Scottish dance to your next event are all listed on our website www.guthriedance.ca.

 

The summer is a great time to try out Scottish dance classes, get fit, have some fun and make new friends! We are also available for cultural festivals, fundraisers, weddings and other family get-togethers.

 

Where can people find you on social media?
Facebook: @Guthriedance

 

Instagram: @GuthrieSchoolofDance

 

RxMuse coming in 2018

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