A Common Goal

 

MOTHER/DAUGHTER DUO GAYLE AND ALI BURROW ENJOY SPREADING                                 THEIR FAMILY’S PASSION FOR DANCE    

by RACHEL HORNE 

 
  ^ Gayle and Ali Burrow

^ Gayle and Ali Burrow

Ali Burrow started learning to dance in her mother’s studio at two-and-a-half years old while holding firm to her blanket. “I was the clown,” she said. “The first few years of dance are kind of a blur, but I remember eventually realizing that I loved the spotlight. I craved it.”

Ali’s love of dance was in her blood, as her mother, Gayle Burrow, started dancing at age six and has gone on to teach dance for over 40 years. After Ali graduated college, she worked full-time alongside her mother for 10 years at their Texarkana studio, All Stars Dance Center. “What makes her so valuable is that she’s been with the studio all her life,” Gayle said. “She grew up with the studio so she knows what we’re expecting, and she knows the commitment. ”

Together, the two taught classical ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and lyrical. Ali worked in the business and social media aspects as well, and now, though Ali has moved to Houston to work for State Farm selling insurance, she’s still an integral part of the studio. “I know everything that goes on at that studio,” she said. “Each night, my mom and I talk - sometimes for close to an hour - about how the day went. I’m 100% invested in that studio no matter what part of the country I’m in. I always have been, and I always will be.”

Despite the distance, she creates choreography and handles business management and technology, but she says her hometown has a special place in her heart and visiting her mother takes a weight off her shoulders. As a surprise for Mother’s Day, she went to see Gayle and helped with the program book for an upcoming recital. “She’s invaluable to me,” Gayle said. “It’s been a great working relationship. I think we both have in mind the same things. We want to give the students the best dancing mind they can. I think that puts us on the same page. We have a common goal.”

 

 ^ During her first dance recital at age 3, Ali portrayed a snow fairy. 

^ During her first dance recital at age 3, Ali portrayed a snow fairy. 

In face, the two have such a common goal that they have a habit of echoing each other’s sentences. “Being able to work with my mom is a dream,” Ali said. “We get along so great and are able to bounce ideas off of each other. We have the studio’s, and more importantly the children’s, best interest at heart, and we are always working on ways to improve teaching methods, technology, choreography, etc.”

 ^ Gayle and Ali on June 6, 2000, when Ali received her Tenth Year Award. 

^ Gayle and Ali on June 6, 2000, when Ali received her Tenth Year Award. 

Another surprise Ali once gave her mother was during Gayle’s 35th anniversary as a dance instructor. During a recital, over 20 of Gayle’s previous students came out on stage to each give her a rose. “It was amazing to see those students again because I’ve been teaching for a long time,” Gayle said. “She’d totally done that without my knowledge to surprise me.”

Alongside their lifelong obsessions with dance, the two share a love for teaching and encouraging the young girls who get involved in the art. Ali calls teaching, “the most challenging, frustrating, wonderful, most beautiful thing in this world.”

For Gayle, teaching is a learning process as well. “It’s a lifelong dedication,” she said, “and it’s something I love. I love dance, and I love teaching dance and working with my students. I hope to instill a love of dance in them and confidence in themselves.”

Like she taught her own daughter, Gayle now finds herself teaching the children of women who were once her students - three and four year olds who may have just given up their own blankets. With Ali’s help, no matter the distance, they are able to spread their family’s passion for dance.

“Teaching dance can be so challenging when you are getting ready for a performance,” Ali said. “But then when the actual performance comes around and everything comes together, I am so proud of those kids, it brings tears to my eyes.”