From childhood lessons to prior employment in a competition studio, I've learned from experience that there is more to dance than performing. I opened my private school of dance in 2010, and included teaching the “art of dance” in the mission statement to focus on the creative aspect of movement rather than the competitive side of dance. I worked to make lessons affordable for children in my area. Students enjoy the artistic process of performing, but students must prepare to perform. Even with instructing technique and choreography in preparation for performances, I strive to inspire creativity. Having recently completed my Certificate in Dance Education (CiDE), I realize that although dance is exciting and wonderful exercise, exposure to the art of dance helps children learn 21st century skills such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication. I consistently apply knowledge gained from the Online Professional Development Institute (OPDI) in my instruction, and recognize that teaching standards-based lessons is important not only for the children's growth and development, but also for advocating for the art of dance. I want more children to receive a quality dance education and their parents to understand the benefits of such an education.
In 2014, I became the dance teaching artist for Polk County Schools. Professional development has provided me with tools to implement in the studio and classrooms, which allows me to contribute to dance and dance education. Staying current with research and advocacy from the NDEO enables me to direct my private studio business, and to provide dance education for public school students.
My intention is to bring high quality dance education, with support of the NDEO, to as many children as possible in our community. I will attend the 2016 National Conference in Washington, DC with two specific goals: 1, to reflect on my OPDI experience in my accepted presentation, “OPDI: An Innovative Tool to Advocate, Analyze, and Advance Dance Education in Rural Areas”; and 2, to continue my research from the 2013 conference with the objective of completing an article for Dance Education in Practice that express how private studio owners can benefit from attending the NDEO National Conference. This information needs to be disseminated not only to raise awareness of NDEO programs, but also to aid private studio owners in building their business, connecting with parents, advocating for dance education, and providing quality lessons for students. The OPDI nurtured my interest in advocacy for the art of dance. With completion of my CiDE, it is my duty to continue advancing the art of dance through writing and presenting research from my perspective of being a private studio owner in rural North Carolina.