In a word — magic. Applied magic.
Dance excites me, delights me, brings me immeasurable joy.... It’s done that my whole life — from when I was a toddler. It shows in every part of me. I can’t hide it.
And it shows when I’m teaching — especially beginning students —and it rubs off on them. Every time. The excited and confident ones, of course. But also, the hesitant ones, shy ones, terrified ones, anxious ones. The ones who think they can’t dance, who think they can’t learn, who think they have no rhythm. The ones who think they’re too uncoordinated, who think they have two left feet (They’re actually right about this — except that in partnered dancing there are also two right feet, and that makes all the difference. :-)
My students come to their first lesson.... We chat a minute... And if need be, like a mother duck I take them under my wing. First, “we walk.” Then bit by bit, we add other things....And at some point, usually in that first hour, they discover they *are* dancing, they *can* learn, they *can* dance, it’s *easy*, it’s *fun*, they’re *happy*, and then they want more.
See? — Magic.
On a more “practical” side — dance is a life skill, like riding a bike. And I teach it that way.
Often students come to me expecting to learn just enough to survive for 2-3 minutes, dancing to one song at their wedding. Their First Dance. And that’s what they get from many teachers.
But what they get when they come to me, whether they take one lesson or half-a-dozen, is the knowledge, understanding and a certain level of skill in being able to connect with a partner and the music, and dance to nearly any danceable song, for the rest of their lives. Now they have a choice, and that's priceless.
I love to see the change that comes over my students when they discover for the first time that they’re dancing, that it’s easier than they thought it would be, or conquer something they’ve struggled with. Their whole demeanor changes. They relax, breathe more easily, smile — sometimes quietly with slow recognition, sometimes in a burst of realization.
Their whole body begins to move differently as they come to “own” what just happened.... And their lives, literally, will never be the same — whether they keep dancing or not — because they have changed a long-held perception of themselves, a core belief. They'll never unlearn that because the body remembers.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
While the details of how I work with private students and beginning classes differs slightly, the intention is the same for both -- to demonstrate to them that they already know more about dancing than they think they do, and that it's easy to learn and fun to dance.
First I ask a few questions designed to put them at ease, and then we walk...to music with a strong, simple beat. Then, taking small steps, we add to that walk until suddenly, they realize they're dancing. It often happens before they even know it.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I started learning to dance as a little girl and continue to learn to this day. There is no "there," there, in dance. Dance is a journey, not a destination and the learning continues indefinitely. Specifically, I've studied with local, regional, national and international dancers and teachers in all kinds of dance from ballet to modern, jazz, tap, swing/lindy, "ballroom" dance styles, African and other world dance forms. I've also studied the history and ethnology of American music, dance and culture in the extended 20th Century.
In addition, I'm an experienced classroom teacher with postgraduate work in learning modalities. I understand how people learn and how to teach students so their learning experience is successful and pleasant for them.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
I teach classes and private lessons in several studios in North East Seattle.
* Private lessons are private — no other teachers or students on the floor, no other music being played.
* Free consultations before or between lessons.
* Private lessons are by appointment -- for couples, singles and private groups.
* Lessons are an hour long.
* Rate for an individual or a couple is $85-$90/hour, depending on the studio we use. Add $10/person/hour for groups, up to 6 people.
* There are no packages or required number of lessons, students can schedule the exact number of lessons you want.
* Students can add or subtract lessons as needed.
* Students prepay your first and last lessons to confirm any number of lessons.
* Additional lessons can be paid in advance or at the time of the lesson by cash, check, Paypal or credit card. I accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.
* When we fully reopen from COVID we'll teach beginning and intermediate classes on Sundays and Mondays and hold a weekly dance in NE Seattle.
* Monday’s class and dance is in Northgate, just north of the Northgate Mall.
* The class is beginner-friendly, drop-in and progressive.
* Both class and dance are open to the public.
* Currently class and dance are $10. This may change when we reopen
* Sunday’s classes are in the University District on the “Ave.”
* We teach beginning and intermediate classes in various styles of swing, waltz, blues and latin dances.
* Pre-registration required.
* Currently classes are $60/6 week session. This may change when we reopen
* Find more information on our website.
How did you get started teaching?
I have my son to thank for my dance teaching career.
I've been dancing all my life -- starting about when I could walk and jump. Classes started at age 6 -- with ballet, tap and figure skating. Ballet continued and modern dance was added through high school, and of course I danced socially in high school and at the university. If I had been allowed to think of dance as a career option, I would have been a professional dancer, probably in modern dance. Instead, I got a degree in education and became a classroom teacher.
Years later, my young teenage son saw some older kids dancing in the school cafeteria and decided he wanted to learn to dance. Helping him find swing dance classes and teachers got me back on the dance floor. From there, he joined a teen lindy hop performance team and I became an assistant teacher and the head chaperone for their travels to competitions. The kids placed fourth in their first competition -- the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships at Disneyland -- competing against experienced adults. Quite an accomplishment for them.
That experience reawakened my passion for dance and I happily jumped in with both feet, learning both roles, lead and follow, in a myriad of social dances. It soon became obvious to me that I could combine my classroom teacher training and experience, and my dancing, into teaching dance and have my dream job -- which is exactly what I did. :-)