My role model, mentor, and the person who has impacted my life in a positive way would be my mom, Linze McRae. At a young age, my mom knew she was a different kind of person than what normalcy requires for living. She found passion in creativity, had a love for helping others, and discovered she embodied leadership qualities to boldly carry her through the rest of her endeavors. My mom has impacted me through dance, love, and hard work of her own.
Mother and Dance Teacher
Growing up in Etowah County, she fell in love with the art of dance. After a long childhood full of dance, her world changed. My mother had me in February of 2003. She most likely had no clue she would go on to have her child as her twin. Not only is she my mom, but also my dance teacher of 15 years. She decided to open up the Downtown Dance Conservatory: teaching the art of ballet and contemporary/modern style dance to young girls in the Etowah County community. Starting out with 15 students on Broad St. in Downtown Gadsden, she found an outlet not only for her own personal creativity, but a second home for her students to express their creativity as well. She went on to take classes all over the country and earn her Certification in Dance Training from the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England. Where she found the most joy as a young woman is where I step closer to every day: dance and creativity.
My mom has been my rock ever since the day I was born. She has worked tirelessly to build up her own life around myself and our whole family. She is kind, loving, and has the heart to inspire and help others every day. My mom is my role model because of her attitude and her love for all the little things in life. This love she has shown me throughout my entire life is more than I could have ever asked for. She is a mom of strength and loves me through the tough times just as much as the easiest times. We share passion and we share love with one another, and we hold the strongest bond I have in my life.
When my mom was schooling for her dance degree, we traveled many places for her course. In 1st grade, I remember traveling to London to watch my mother receive her certification degree. I knew at the time I was proud of her, but I didn’t understand the extent of my mom’s determination. This determination is something I would go on to admire so much about my mother. Starting a business from the ground up at such a young age takes nothing short of hard work, sweat, and tears. She pushes through everyday striving for the next one to accomplish another goal. My mom works so hard, and this is one of the things I admire the most about my mom.
“Empower a girl, change the world” is the perfect phrase to describe the work ethic and passions of my Mom. Her every day job has taken her passions and carried them to inspire young women into creativity and the arts. The arts have been a mental health, exercise, and creative outlet for so many, and my mother has opened the door for our community and the resilient young women in it. I have been blessed to have my eyes opened to all of the opportunities that my mom has provided for me.
My Mom Today
Moving forward to today, her business, Downtown Dance Conservatory, is still located in Downtown Gadsden. Instead of 15 students, there are now almost 500 students to come in every week with a love for dance. Each young girl who enters ballet class comes out as a strong young woman. My mother instills confidence, grace, strength, and the beauty of art into the female youth of our community. The platform she has created allows young women to find their voice in creativity without speaking a word. Instead, they use their own capacity to express strength and an art form of technique in dance. My mother is one of the strongest, most determined, creative, intelligent, and beautiful women I know. She inspires me to take chances, accept opportunities, and use my skills and talents for the best of all people. My mom has given me life, love, and everything of her ability since the day I was born. She is the hardest worker I have come to know, and I strive to be nothing less.
“Strong women. May we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.”
Thank you Mom for everything. You are my rock!
– Azalea McRae
Check out more about the Gadsden Cultural Arts Foundation!
Photos of Downtown Dance Conservatory, located in Downtown Gadsden, AL.
Linze McRae, ARAD
Check out our upcoming performance: Prudence In Pepperland!
June 11th, 12th, & 13th at the Mort Glosser Outdoor Amphitheater in Downtown Gadsden.
For more info on, check out Downtown Dance Conservatory’s Facebook page.
Check out more articles on amazing women from GirlSpring contributors!