Ontario Tech student by day, award-winning dancer by night

Danielle Bates, 20, is an Ontario Tech student who is a member of the Ridgebacks dance team. Photo credit: Brandon Beharry

Danielle Bates believes the more connected she is to the campus, the more successful she will be in her school endeavours.

A third-year Ontario Tech Kinesiology student by day and competitive dancer for the Ridgebacks by night, Bates is also the athletic therapist for her school’s women’s basketball team.

In her ‘spare’ time, she coaches dance in Whitby.

Bates, 20, does all of these things while still maintaining the top GPA of all female athletes at her school.

A student-athlete who dedicates all her time and effort into both her studies and her athleticism, Bates enjoys the experiences she receives as an athlete through dance and and working as a therapist with the basketball team.

“I have a very unique perspective on the athletic set at Ontario Tech,” says Bates, who lives in Bowmanville.

“I’m currently doing an internship with the athletic therapy department. So I’m working with the women’s basketball team in their first year and I’m also an athlete as well.”

One of the perks of Bates’ position is being able to see the inner workings of a sport other than dance.

“I get to see two sports now and I get to see the behind the scenes of another team which is really cool,” says Bates. “Their sport is very different than mine so it’s been a very nice experience to get to know the coaches and get to know how they travel as well as their vibe as a team.”

As an athletic therapist, Bates has to spend a lot of time with the team. Attending the majority of their practices, Bates’ job consists of patching the players up, while communicating to both the coaching staff and the players about injuries.

Although she enjoys basketball, dance remains her passion. This is her third year on the Ridgebacks dance team, which practises regularly as they gear up for several competitions in March.

Bates also makes time to be involved in the sport outside of the Ridgebacks through her teaching job at the Living Arts Academy.

“Dance has always been the number one priority,” says Bates. “I’ve just been drawn to it since I was little and it takes a lot of time. If you want to be good at it you obviously have to focus on one thing.”

Bates has been teaching at the Living Arts Academy for four years. She loves her job and strives to leave a lasting impression on all of her students.

“Everything about teaching dance is rewarding,” says Bates, who currently teaches one to two nights per week and is contemplating becoming a teacher or pursuing a master’s degree following her undergrad program.

“I’m sure everyone has had that one teacher in their lives that has had a big impact on them and it’s nice to know that I’ve been that for some girls, that I’m the person they can go to and remember when they’re looking back at dance when they’re older.”

Bates stresses the importance of making sure every student gets specialized treatment.

“I enjoy giving them pieces that are special. I really try and put 100 per cent of my effort into them and make sure that each and every one of them is getting attention because that’s what I would have wanted when I was little.”

Danielle’s younger sibling, Natalie, 18, is inspired by her big sister and is driven by the dedication that she shows when balancing her studies and dance.

“My sister never stopped – she’d always continue her studies after dance. She made time to do both. She was able to prioritize both without cutting either out,” says Natalie.

Bates attributes her success to her involvement in her own campus community, crediting her teammates and cohorts for their support.

“Ever since I’ve been on the team I’ve felt like I’ve had a better support system around me and I feel like that really contributes to my grade because I’m not so isolated from the school,” says Bates. “I feel the more connected I am to this community, the more successful I am.”