It was my grandma’s idea to sign me up for dance classes at a local studio when I was in 6th grade. Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Lyrical were all a part of my early dance education. I fell completely in love with Ballet right from the start. I loved the precise alignment and clarity of the movement.
During 8th grade, I decided to audition for the dance program at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology (ARGS). Luckily I made it into the program and that was truly the start of my serious dance training. I was introduced to Modern dance and once again, fell completely in love. The increased use of the spine and floor were thrilling. The grounded qualities and greater freedom of movement allowed me to investigate dance in a new and exciting way. I was also introduced to Improvisation and Composition. Through Composition, I learned about choreographic concepts and how to structure a dance. I realized that I could tell a story or express an idea through movement. ARGS was very influential in shaping me into the dancer I am today. It was in the ARGS dance program that I realized dance could be a career and that I could continue my studies at the college level.
I attended James Madison University and received my BA in dance. After undergrad I moved back to the Richmond area and began dancing with Z-Mullins Dance Company (now known as RADAR), teaching for Gotta Dance! School of Performing Arts, Inc., and offering master classes at ARGS. Gaining professional performance experience through company work was important in my dance journey. I also continued to work on my choreography. The process of creating a dance can sometimes be very difficult. Like “writer’s block” I started to experience “choreographer’s block”. I knew I needed new inspirations and I also felt like I wanted to learn about my craft at a deeper level. Graduate school was the obvious choice.
I moved to New York and received my MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College. During my time in graduate school, I was pushed physically and mentally in a way I had never been pushed before. My professors and cohorts were fantastic and they supported me in rediscovering this amazing art form. My choreographic process evolved into a new and beautiful way of working in the studio. I became a stronger performer and teacher.
After graduate school, I accepted a full time position at Binford Middle School and also started rehearsals with RADAR again. I was excited to find out that Binford was beginning a new adventure as an arts integrated school. I could write my own curriculum and design the new dance program. I am currently in my third year teaching for Binford. The school has continued to embrace the arts and arts integration. We are now a Turnaround Arts School, a program through the Kennedy Center, and every day the students are excited to be learning through the arts.
My dance journey has come full circle. I started as an enthusiastic 6th grade student and now I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I love performing, choreographing, and teaching and I’m excited to inspire the next generation of dance artists. I am so lucky that my career is something that I am passionate about. One of my favorite quotes is a perfect way to describe my love and appreciation of the arts, “Feed the body food and drink, it will survive today. Feed the soul art and music, it will live forever.” -- Author Unknown
I chose Binford Middle School because I know I am a part of something special within the walls of this one hundred year old building. The faculty and staff are providing a safe and creative environment for the students. Binford is also allowing me to continue my growth as a choreographer and teacher. Every day I am learning just as much from my students as they are from me.