FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – A former professional ballerina who danced on stages all over the world now patrols the streets of Davis County.
Sheriffs Deputy Andrea Gossels traded in her tutu and tights for a bulletproof vest and a gun but she still teaches ballet which means she’s keeping her students and lawbreakers on their toes.
When she’s not on patrol Deputy Gossels is “en pointe” teaching the form of dance she started as a 3-year-old.
“Everything was just dance,” she told Behind the Badge.”It was my whole life growing up. My first performance with a professional ballet company was when I was in 8th Grade. I actually left school my senior year of high school for a period of time to go dance with a company…I liked how much work it took and then the reward of being on stage and performing and always striving for unattainable perfection basically.”
At 19 she went from Swan Lake to Salt Lake, joining the ballet program at the University of Utah, where she also took paramedic classes which led to a job as an EMT and then two years ago she became a deputy, leaping into action in some dangerous situations.
“It’s always intense when you’re fighting someone or when you have to take an action that might harm somebody else and put yourself or other officers in the way of harm,” Deputy Gossels said. “But it’s part of the job and fortunately that’s part of the training…I’ve been in one fight that was you know, pretty scary and did what I had to do and got through it.”
Although pirouettes and police work are vastly different skills, she credits her lifetime in studios and on stages for preparing her for this career.
“The way you learn to carry yourself and present yourself and the self-awareness that dance gave me and gives other people and kids growing up is a very valuable and transferable skill to have,” she explains. “It translates to whatever you want to do whether that’s being an officer and walking up to a car and talking to a stranger and figuring out what’s going on or if that’s you know teaching in an elementary school or being a businessman.”
Deputy Gossels told Behind the Badge she hopes every child can get the confidence and discipline that ballet instilled in her so occasionally if parents can’t afford the class fees, she cuts them a break.
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