My days at 15 were blanketed in the warmth of my north side home in Edmonton, Alberta - walls covered in Haida art shaping my definition of beauty, water rings on deep mahogany tables, an Ewok of a dog at the foot of our beds with the perfect underbite, my older brother pacing in the basement, and the compelling charm of my father, convincing me to take “mental health” days so we could stay home watching movies and listening to the Fine Young Cannibals. I had begun attending the only performing arts school in the city because I wanted to dance, leaving behind my soulmate-friend to this day, Jolene Metcalfe, and in turn discovering the beauty of Carmell Dermott-King and Karie Kohar-Gavin. I watched people shave heads over garbage cans, sat with Goths in math class, painted a small flower on my cheek, developed a crush on a boy who perpetually had a bloody nose and the most beautiful hands I’ve ever seen. I spent most of my evenings on the floor of Edmonton Dance Centre in the company of such greats as Kate Garrett, Michelle Marie Santiago, Dana Robinson, Kyla Radomsky-Christie, Kristine Owen Wood and Becca Kilbride. I was scared a lot - that my dreams were too big and my dancing too small, that I did not possess boldness, that everything around me might fall apart, but I was hungry and enthralled with even a sliver of a chance that those steps might take me somewhere.
- n. nigro (2013)