Q: What IS the New Chicago Dance Studio?
A: The studio began in 2010. I had a large student following from teaching around the area and it was time to open my own place. We have faculty with degrees in dance, and we offer classes ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, fitness and performance opportunities for ages 3 through to adults. The studio has a nice balance between having high expectations for our students within a recreational program. We also don’t have our students do the competition circuit and go the overly-commercial route. So to me, that’s also Greenbelt: fun, friendly, yet appreciative of fine art and quality.
Q: What’s been your biggest challenge?
A: Getting the word out. There are still hundreds of Greenbelt families that don’t realize that they have a wonderful dance studio in their very own backyard. Advertising doesn’t work the way it used to, so a big thanks to you, Susan, for trying to centralize information and making a web presence for all the great things Greenbelt has to offer.
Q: What’s the most fun thing about running the studio and teaching dance?
A: Hard to pick one. Watching my students grow and improve. Seeing a student’s “lightbulb” go on with a challenge they have been having. Watching a child take their very first dance class – ever. And watching an adult student do the same. There are so many warm and friendly folks who brighten my day every time I come to work. Because of my experience in music theater I’ve had professional performers come from NYC to teach the original Broadway choreography from “Mary Poppins,” “Wicked,” “Smash,” and “Chicago.” Very rewarding to see my old friends share their experience to the kids I work with every day.
Q: Anything unique about teaching in Greenbelt?
A: When I started teaching here I really clicked with the children in a way I haven’t in other places. In general, kids here seem to have a great sense of who they are and have no desire to conform and become a cookie-cutter dance star. They use dance to enrich their lives rather than disappear, which is how I feel about dance, too.
Q: What do you do when you’re not at the studio?
A: The studio is a 24/7 job. I have a four-year-old daughter who has to share me with the studio. I’m constantly communicating with students or preparing for our next event, so striking a balance between business owner and Mom has been a challenge, but a rewarding one.
Q: Any changes coming up for New Chicago?
A: I look forward to adding skill levels and having our students move forward. I want to help older students prepare to pursue dance in college. I want to do some field trips to NYC and Chicago so that my students meet my network of performing friends. Lots to look forward to!