New Chicago Dance Studio Q&A

| February 11, 2014 | 2 Comments

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Here’s the first of a new series on Greenbelt Live – Q&As with dance and fitness teachers!  First up, Samantha Fitschen, owner and director of the New Chicago Dance Studio on Greenway Center Drive.


Samantha Fitschen

Samantha Fitschen

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!



Category: Food/Health/Fitness

About the Author ()

Susan Harris has been writing online since 2005 - about gardening. (E.g., Garden Rant, Lawn Reform Coalition, and Behnkes Nursery.) In 2012 she started this community blog for and about her adopted hometown. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland Youtube Channel and does digital promotion for several Greenbelt organizations.

Comments (2)

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  1. Alison says:

    Great interview, Susan! My daughter (who is in the top picture!) has been going to New Chicago for two years, and has learned so much. Her class is fun, yet each time she learns a new ballet or tap step or terminology. Her teacher is warm, but ensures the kids all learn at the same time. And it’s great that the studio is owned and run by an Old Greenbelter!

  2. I think I see bellydancing class!

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