There can be little doubt that Krystal Garib, the new owner of the Penticton School of Dance, is bringing something special as she takes over the business.
Though she’s only 26 years old, the former Miss Penticton has some serious experience in the dance, theatre and entertainment worlds.
Garib made her Broadway debut at the age of 19, joining the cast of Bombay Dreams — a production from Andrew Lloyd Webber and A.R. Rahman — where she understudied and played the lead role of Priya.
Other credits include Eowyn in a musical adaptation of the Lord of the Rings, and appearances in productions of Catwalk and Othello. Add TV appearances to that, as well as a singing career and Garib is already a well-rounded performer.
And it all started right in the same dance studio she now owns.
“It all starts at home. That’s the philosophy I have always gone by,” said Garib, who started dancing at the school at the age of three.
“When I was young I always dreamed of this happening, being able to buy the studio. I thought it would happen a lot later in life,” she said. “I’ve kind of always known what I wanted and the path I wanted to take. There have been a lot of sacrifices as well.”
Garib said she had wonderful opportunities in Penticton, growing up dancing: teachers that gave her the foundation of the art and the craft of singing and dancing and a strong work ethic from her family, but becoming Miss Penticton changed her life as well. “The public speaking aspect for me was really huge. I grew up with a speech impediment, stuttering. I used to go to speech therapy and that helped a little bit, but it wasn’t until I did Miss Penticton, and had to face the fear and challenge of public speaking that I started to overcome it.”
In addition to her studies in Penticton, Garib also went to India to study Kathak, a classical Indian dance form, in Kolkata, India.
“We’re definitely going to begin offering Indian dance classes, Bollywood dance, and hopefully get the Indian community here more involved in dance,” said Garib, talking about her plans for the school.
Arts, music and dance is a big part of Indian culture, she said, but often the children of immigrants to Canada don’t have the same opportunity to experience it the same way.
“It is very much integrated into the school system in India, the singing and dancing,” she said. “I was lucky, I got to go to India to study. A lot of Indian kids who are born and raised here don’t have the opportunity to go back to the old country, so there isn’t that connection to the culture.
“That is something that I am really hoping we’ll start to get, the Indian community involved in the art.”
Ballet and the full range of dance classes will continue to be offered, Garib said, and even expanded.
“As of September, we become an academy. We’re going on the same schedule as the hockey academy. Our dance classes in ballet, jazz and tap offer high school credits,” she explained. “Kids will take their academics in the morning and after lunch they can come to the studio and dance, and get credits for taking dance classes.”
Coming back to Penticton to run the dance school is Garib’s way of giving back to an art and a community that have given her many opportunities.
“The other aspects of my career have been great, but there was always that feeling of, I don’t what to say, unfulfilled. At the end of the day, what am I doing this all for,” she said. “It’s really easy as a performing artist to get caught up in the how do I look … you’re constantly concerned about yourself. Those are the demands that come along with following that path, but for me, in order to keep doing this I really had to be really clear about why I was doing it.”
Garib is still intent on pursuing other aspects of her career, but for now she decided to come back to Penticton and dedicate her time to make sure things are set up the way they need to be. When things are running smoothly, she expects to “dabble” back into her many talents.
“It’s just about balance and careful planning,” she said.