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Murrieta Mesa High School Dance Program Interview with Penny Chidester

“. . . the biggest mistake she sees dancers make is their thinking being a good dancer is all about the ability to do “tricks.”

Murrieta Mesa High School in Murrieta, California, is a comprehensive public high school offering a full curriculum of dance classes ranging from beginning to advanced. There are performance opportunities throughout the school year for all dance program students. The two big shows are the winter dance showcase and the spring dance production. There is an extracurricular dance team for those dancers who want to be more involved with the school beyond the class and stage experience.dscn1589-2crop

In the opinion of Penny Chidester, the Dance Program Director, what sets their program apart from other high school dance programs is the fact that there is a place for any student who has the desire to learn about the art and skill of dance.

Penny’s proudest moment as a dance coach occurred when the music cut out in the middle of a dance team performance in a packed gym at a varsity basketball game halftime. The dance team continued to the end of the dance without skipping a beat and received a standing ovation from everybody in the gym. It made her (more…)

Newport Dance Theater Interview with Kimberly Davis


Dancers need a loving place to grow into artists, and a safe place they can come to where they feel at home and where everyone shows respect and care for each other.

Newport Dance Theatre in Costa Mesa, California, is intertwined with, and located in the same facility as, Newport Dance and Fitness. They interviewed Kimberly Davis, the Owner and Director of Newport Dance Theater and Co-Owner, with Bristin Andreae, of Newport Dance and Fitness. unnamed

The dance studio was started by Kim’s mother in 2005 and is still family owned and operated. Most of their dance teachers have, or are in the process of receiving, college degrees in dance or have been teaching dance for over 15 years. Their studio offers classes for adults and children starting at 18 months old. Their wide variety of dance classes includes; ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, tumbling, lyrical, and contemporary. Their classes appeal to children of all ages and levels. Whether they are recreational dancers looking to take a weekly class for fun or more dance-focused and striving to be a part of their dance competition team, they have a place and a class for everyone.

Their focus is on teaching the highest level of dance technique, (more…)

Sun City Aliante Steppers Interview with Margo Young

Margo Young Sun City Aliante Steppers from North Las Vegas, Nevada, is not your typical dance team. According to Margo Young, the Director of the group, they are an adult Senior Dance group ranging in age from 57 to 87. They perform for charities and special events in Las Vegas and throughout the State Of Nevada. They love giving back to their community and producing shows for special charities.

In Margo’s opinion, the main thing that separates her dance team from other dance programs is that they are a non-profit group and all classes are free. Additionally, members of this group are responsible for the cost of costumes. They hold fund raisers such as garage sales to help with the cost.

one male dancerMargo’s proud of the fact that she started the group 10 years ago and now they are the Official Dance Group for the Ms. Senior Nevada Pageant held every year at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. Also, last year they won three gold medals in the Dance category at the Senior Olympics.

One thing that Seniors know about dance that younger dancers still have not learned is that anybody can dance and enjoy movement no matter how old they are. Dancing does (more…)

Fox Dance Studio Interview with Raquel Urquizu

OwnerAccording to Raquel Urquizu, CEO of Fox Dance Studio in Redlands, California, they are a very fun and safe ballroom dance studio that stays true to their mission statement – Treating everyone that walks through their front door as they would like to be treated.

In Raquel’s opinion what separates their dance studio from other dance studios is that there is something for EVERYONE there . . . Married couples, single people, social and competitive dancers, performers and non-performers. They do not believe in high pressure sales. They listen to their students and do their very best to create opportunities and fulfill dreams. Their instructors are truly inspirational.

Her proudest moment coaching is going to competitions and achieving progress. Even if it is placing better in one dance, it is HUGE! It is so fulfilling and uplifting!

According to Raquel, the biggest mistake she has seen dancers make is (and she has been guilty of this as well) getting in their head too much. Paralysis by analysis — that is a real thing. All dancers go through a stage where they take dancing way too seriously. You have to bring the fun back into it. Let go, let loose and don’t worry about the (more…)

Latin Dance Movement Interview with Hervin Alvarez

PracticeHervin Alvarez is a salsa dance performer, choreographer, instructor, and founder of Latin Dance Movement (LDM), North Miami Beach, Florida. He describes Latin Dance Movement as a Latin-dance studio focused on salsa dancing. They are committed to the growth of their students, pushing them to become better dancers in every class. Their goal is to develop salsa dancing as an art form and take the dance to new levels.

Hervin was fascinated with Latin dance from a young age. Despite growing up in a Latin culture which valued dance, like many people, he did not think he had the skills or natural ability to learn how to dance. It wasn’t until he was 17 that he finally had the courage to dive in and take his first lessons in salsa. He fell in love with it immediately. After learning the basics, he understood why so many in his culture loved the dance – it is an important form of bonding, celebrating, and expressing oneself. The ability to share a dance with someone and connect on a deep level through movement and music kept him coming back. Also, watching the best dancers in the studio inspired him to keep on learning and growing. (more…)

KJ Dance Designs Interview with Kristy Ulmer Blakeslee

Blue CostumeKJ Dance Designs has been in Plano, Texas since 1993 and still continues to grow! According to Kristy Ulmer Blakeslee, KJ Dance Designs is a unique dance studio that focuses on their students by teaching grace, poise, and selflessness. From recreational to company dancers, Kristy says KJ Dance is very excited to see the talent that develops within the studio walls!

It is a dancer’s world at KJ. Whether you are a serious dancer seeking to develop your art or a recreational dancer seeking exercise and fun, there is no better place than KJ Dance. Their staff is filled with highly skilled professionals, including KJ alumni, who are passionate about the lives coming in and out of the KJ doors! Their dancers build a home at KJ, and form relationships and characteristics that will last a lifetime.

The mission of KJ is to focus on each individual by teaching grace, poise and selflessness. KJ provides a safe nurturing environment where dance is the vessel by which a child can gain self esteem and valuable skills including teamwork and leadership. Their program teaches honesty, integrity, loyalty and dedication through the art of dance. The KJ staff is committed to keeping standards high and constantly (more…)

Beyond Words Dance Company Interview with Kate Jablonski

Beyond Words Dance Company in Lyons, Illinois, was established in 2009 by Artistic Director Kate Jablonski to provide a positive outlet for expression for flourishing young dancers ages 10 to 18. just wowCompany members train in the disciplines of ballet, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary, and are taught life lessons of teamwork, commitment, responsibility, and work ethic through the art of dance. Kate’s goal is to create a supportive environment where dancers are inspired and motivated to reach their highest potential.

According to Kate, one major difference between Beyond Words and other studios is that for Beyond Words, each year culminates in a stunning showcase that gives dancers invaluable insight into the world of professional dance.  While the second act of the show is their competition repertoire, in March they begin working on fresh material for an original first act.  Since their rehearsal space (Foundations Performance Center) converts into a theater, the year-end showcase encompasses innovative and daring stage elements that challenge the dancers in a new way.

According to Kate, their goal for this year is to be better than last year and to continue to push boundaries in the dance world!

Kate – dancer, teacher, choreographer – is the owner and artistic director of (more…)

AMNA Dance Interview With Amna Mazin

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­AMNA Dance where they “Dance to Inspire”, has a number of studios in Southern California.  The Amna Mazinstudios were founded by Amna Mazin, owner and Regional Director of Dance in Orange County and Riverside, and Co-Director of Inspire Performance Group.

Amna said they teach with the intention to instill creative minds in their dancers.  They steer away from competing with others and instead focus on competing only with themselves in order to test their limits and yet work as one amongst themselves.  Inspiration through strong values and character is as important to them as is the art form of dancing and technique.

They also offer a unique program where their curriculum combines Bollywood, Hip Hop, Jazz and Latin dance styles into one class. Students are exposed to all four styles in one year and develop in their technique and movements in all four styles throughout the years.

Amna’s has two mantras, “NEVER GIVE UP!” and “If it hurts or if it is hard, that means I am getting stronger.”   She motivates her students by celebrating their weaknesses and strengths.  She tries her best to steer away from favoritism and make sure her number one rule is having fun!

Amna’s proudest moment happened when she was having (more…)