·         Dear Miss Anita,

As you’re aware, I’m leaving ACSOD and will not be returning next year. So I wanted to write you a short letter, so I can express all I have learnt from you and my thanks for all you have done. I hope it is as heart-warming as I hope for it to be...

I came to ACSOD as an approx. 4 year old, to be honest I can’t really remember much from those early days. I remember crying once in maybe grade 2 when I got put up into a class and I didn’t know anything. They were the days. I like to think that since then I’ve become a bit more resilient.

I remember also, making lifelong friends. Having singing competitions in our lunch breaks, spending all day Saturdays at the old studios with concert rehearsals and thinking I’d practically hit the big time.  I remember moving into the new studios, having singing lessons with Phil, chats with Ange, being warned that Liv was scary and realising she was actually the bomb. I remember dance after dance with sooo much warmth. I remember... just kidding I’ll stop with the memories now.

And all throughout the changing studios, and class mates, and teachers, and routines, has been you guiding me all through it. And I have so much to thank you for; you’ve created and run a dance school that has been a constant source of escape, enjoyment, education and general-soul-nourishment in every class, with every friend I’ve made and every little thing I’ve learnt. It has indeed being a huge part of forming the person I am today.

Your little saying that you teach dance lessons and life lessons is oh so true. From you and your school I have learnt how to accept corrections as compliments and thrive off the opportunity for improvement they allow; embedding in me a resilience to any tribulations I face in transforming them in a chance to grow. I’ve learnt a unique level of discipline and respect for others, how to keep a group together and spirits high, how to lead and how to follow, how to respect my body and how to be confident and be captivating and engaging. All of these skills, while developed for dance, will serve me for the entirety of my life and I can’t wait to see how they will help me to get wherever I end up.

Miss Anita, no amount of words can explain my gratitude to you, your staff, your students and your studios, for all they have provided me with which will continue be an integral part of me for the rest of my life. I am so truly thankful, and I hope to see you on many, many occasions, in the near future, distant future and every future in between!

·         I can't believe 4 hours can fly by so fast!! A fabulous afternoon spent watching the most amazing bunch of talented people do what they absolutely love doing!! I could never have imagined that sending Eliza off to ballet at the age of 3 all those years ago would have given her this amazing second family that has filled her world with such friendship & happiness & taught her so many life lessons along the way!!
Thank you for being such an amazing teacher, mentor & friend to everyone that has become a part of the ACSOD family!!!


·         Happy 25th anniversary!!!To all the lucky families who have a little one starting dance this year at Miss Anita's, enjoy. It goes so quickly... It doesn't seem that long ago that my daughter, Cassie, was starting, and this year she is in year 12 at school. Not sure where she will be living next year because of uni, but will be encouraging her to dance as long as possible. Cheers and happy 2012 everybody.


·         Congratulations to you and all the amazing Teachers and Helpers at ACSOD. The Performance was absolutely wonderful. All the dancers were fantastic and it was very evident all the hard work and dedication and many hours of practice that went into creating such a brilliant performance. My husband said to me, “Wow! Any wonder Stella loves her dancing so much.” Everyone looked like they were having so much fun and it was all so professionally handled and executed. I am always conscious of all the happy faces I pass and the respect and friendship amongst all the students when I come into the school to collect Stella. It really is a joy to see. As parents, we feel very lucky that our daughter is dancing at such a wonderful school and is so fortunate to have the very best teachers and facilities in Ballarat. I really think ACSOD is setting a very high standard for all other Dance Schools in Ballarat to follow. So Congratulation, Bravo and all the very best for your 25th year milestone in 2012.


·         Thank you so much for such a wonderful concert. I simply cannot comprehend that amount of passion, dedication and sheer hard work that goes in to the final year performance and the whole year that precedes it. You are bringing whole new generations in to ballet - not just the young ballerinas, but the aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and many other people that are amazed by the standard and specialness of what you are achieving with your ballet school. My sister came to the concert for the first time and commented it was a wonderful world that she had not known existed. Circe had a wonderful show and adored watching the 'bigger ballerinas' after interval. It was truly a wonderful culmination of a lovely year.


·         Congratulations Vanessa what fantastic news. Congratulations to Miss Anita as well for helping you achieve your dreams. I am so excited for you. The Aust Ballet School are lucky to have such another beautiful ACSOD dancer and beautiful person inside and out. A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. Follow your dreams and live them every day.


·         On reading the first paragraph of the newsletter, I am struck by your comment regarding the 'feel' of ACSOD.............. I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY!! As a family there is nothing more gratifying than your child skipping out the door after ballet with the largest grin imaginable. The atmosphere of your school is exciting and maintains enthusiasm for dance. 'Memories are made, friendships are forged and families prosper' with the involvement of the Anita Coutts School of Dance.............................and the Shalders family are forever grateful!


·         Well done to all you incredible ACSOD dancers! What amazing achievements! Congratulations to you Miss Anita for your amazing ability to nurture & grow your beautiful students so they are not only incredible on stage but off stage as well!


·         Just a quick note to say what a wonderful presentation evening the students had, it was so nice to see them all dressed up and enjoying the evening and each other’s company and to hear them speak. We are very happy to be a part of it all. It’s lovely to see so many talented girls and boys acknowledged and for those who didn’t receive anything this time, their genuine support of those who did. This atmosphere is a credit to you.


·         CONGRATULATIONS on all your success at South Street. We have been so proud to be associated with your dance school & to watch & be a part of the amazing group performances over the last 2 weeks have been nothing but joy! Thank you also for your tireless support of all the students, I'm exhausted & I wasn't there every day, all day!! I don't know how you do it but we very much appreciate all your support & nurturing. I'm also amazed at the continual support & encouragement shown by the older students to the younger ones & of all the students to each other. The congratulations given is as heartfelt whether the performer received a place or not & that’s what makes your dance school so very special! We know that behind all that success is lots of hard work and we thank you for that & look forward to all the exciting things ahead!

·         Dear Anita & Faculty, What can I say but WOW this year’s Showcase took my breath away - there were so many fantastic performances. It was a thoroughly entertaining afternoon which is a credit to you, your teachers and your beautiful students. There were dances that made me laugh, cry and make me sit on the edge of my seat. I'm so proud and privileged to say my children are part of your school. We are so lucky to have this wonderful school available for our children to be part of here in Ballarat. Your dedication, vision, commitment and passion are evident throughout the year but it all comes magically to life on stage in the end of year performance and you can see the love, friendship and fun all your beautiful dancers have from being part of your school. Congratulations to everyone.


·         Dear Anita and Co, I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the support you and gorgeous team give our lucky girls! To have you all buzzing around the girls both before and after they are on stage certainly brightens the experience they have! Thank you for generating the warmth and support you and your entourage do for our lucky girls to enjoy their experience even more! - Happy Parent.