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Tag Archive for High School

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…)

Artistic Fusion Dance Academy Interview with Jennifer Jarnot

Ladies DancingArtistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thorton, Colorado, is co-owned by two sisters, Jennifer and Julie Jarnot. They are also co-Artistic Directors. Jennifer describes Artistic Fusion as a studio that instills their dancers with the proper training of dance and dance technique while providing life tools to help them grow in their own personal development, to create the power of self and to nurture each dancer’s spirit individually and creatively.

Artistic Fusion is a nationally acclaimed dance studio that trains students in the art of dance and the beauty of life. Their goal is for each dancer to experience life lessons as they grow in an artistic atmosphere.  No matter what age the dance student is or what level they are at, there is a place for them at Artistic Fusion.

Artistic Fusion Dance Academy’s recreational dance program is second to none. Their amazing faculty provides recreational dance classes in ballet, pointe, contemporary, tap, jazz, hip hop, leaps and turns, and pilates. Their state of the art dance facility serves the entire Front Range and North Denver Metro area. They offer a variety of classes for students of all skill levels and ages from 18 months to 18 years of age. Their faculty consists (more…)

Centre Dance Interview with Nicole Swope

BallerinasCentre Dance in State College, Pennsylvania, is for the recreational as well as the more involved dancer. They are a diversified school that caters to each level, which are separated according to age, interest, and commitment.  At Centre Dance, they believe in both the larger commitment for their dance careers and the recreational equally.  In the nine months of their season, they focus on basic dance technique, the development of performance qualities and refined motor skills, and on individual correction as needed. They are proud to offer a wide range of classes. Their classes are taught by an exciting, young faculty who is always learning the newest techniques and styles emerging in the world of dance. Centre Dance offers Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Contemporary.

Nicole Swope, their Director, studied and taught ballet, tap and jazz with Deborah Anthony at the Allegheny Ballet Academy in Altoona.  She has also choreographed the opening and closing number for Centre County’s Outstanding Young Woman Program for about twenty years. Also, she is a member of Dance Masters of America.

In the opinion of their Director, Centre Dance stands out from other studios because they offer excellent dance technique and performance grooming instruction.  They focus on the well (more…)

Jazz Unlimited Studio of Dance Arts Interview with Carryl Slobotkin

PerformanceJazz Unlimited Studio of Dance Arts (“JU”) in Marlton, New Jersey, is a dance studio for all ages and all skill levels.  It is a place where students are constantly learning, growing and excelling in the art of dance as well as making lifelong friendships, creating precious memories and building self-confidence.

For over 40 years, their 1,500 student studio has created a reputation for excellence. Their school boasts a team of passionate, skilled teachers who have experience with professional dance companies, degrees in dance or both. Many of their instructors have been involved with Jazz Unlimited for over 20 years.

Keeping on top of current trends is an additional reason Jazz Unlimited continues to be one of the top dance studios in South Jersey. Their Owner and Artistic Director, Carryl Slobotkin, has years of experience choreographing and judging competitions which has given her the chance to work with some of the best, including the opportunity to choreograph for the Eagles’ cheerleaders. Carryl invites guest instructors on a regular basis to infuse classes with fresh techniques, styles, and moves which further inspires and energizes staff and students.

JU is a safe haven that allows dancers of all personalities and ages to express themselves. The studio (more…)

Creative Outlet Dance Center Interview with Pagan Mosher

Girls holding handsThe Creative Outlet Dance Center (“CODC”) is located in the heart of downtown Fairhope, Alabama. It has three professionally equipped studios, each with custom-designed sprung floors, full-length mirrors, three levels of ballet barres and a floating sound system. The complex has two parent waiting rooms, three dressing rooms, three bathrooms, and a courtyard along with covered side door for drop-off and pickup. The CODC is close to coffee shops, grocery stores, and Fairhopers’ Community Park.

Founded in Fairhope, Alabama, by Eugenia Lanaux (“Gina”) in 1978, Creative Outlet Dance Center offers fun, educational, and high-quality dance training. While dancing together, before beginning their teaching partnership in 1982,  Gina Lanaux (Co-Owner and Co-Director), and Pagan Mosher (Co-Owner & Co-Director) came to realize they held the same unique dance education philosophy: Dance is not just for those who want a dance career. Everyone can benefit from dance, regardless of their levels of talent and physical abilities.

It is  Gina and Pagan’s shared philosophy that dance is beneficial to everyone, regardless of their levels of talent and physical abilities. The mission of Creative Outlet Dance Center is, therefore, to give both children and adults an inspiring, educational, positive dance experience that develops a strong body, a positive (more…)

South River High School Dance Department Interview with Mattie Fenton

Full Dance CompanyMattie Fenton  is the Dance Director of the Dance Department at South River High School (SRHS) in Edgewater, Maryland. Mattie says that Dance in Anne Arundel County Public Schools started with only one or two high schools (South River being one of the first) and then through the vision and hard work of Judi Fey (Dance Consultant for AACPS) the program drastically increased over the years and now the county offers dance education at every grade level. Their program is now part of a nationally recognized K-12 Fine Arts Program.

SRHS has a range of students from 9th to 12th grade that can choose from five different courses: Dance I, Dance II-IV, Dance for Athletes, Junior Dance Company (by audition) and Honors Dance Company (audition only). Their Honors Senior Dance Company class is part of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and the students must maintain a 3.5 GPA and participate in several county and state wide fine arts events. They also have two after school Dance Companies that rehearse three-four days a week.

There are no prerequisites for any of the dance classes except Dance Company. All students  enrolled in Dance are required to perform in a mandatory concert at the (more…)

Eisenhower High School Interview with Rachelle Kiehle

Eisenhower High School Dance TeamEisenhower High School in Shelby Township, Michigan is a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School and their varsity dance team is a UDA State and Regional Champion in Hip Hop and Jazz and a UDA National Champion in Hip Hop and National Runner Up in Jazz. Their JV Dance team’s last season was an undefeated season. They were the UDA State and Regional Champions and the UDA National Champions in Poms and 3rd in Jazz.

According to Rachelle Kiehle, the Varsity Dance Coach at Eisenhower High School, their Dance Team is hard working, talented, and coachable. They want to learn more and never settle.

In her opinion, her dance team is different from other dance programs because her team is a “family.” She believes the team is full of hard working, talented young women.

Rachelle says that her proudest moment while being a part of this dance program is continuing to watch these young women grow – not only as dancers but what being a “team” has taught them outside of

The Brebeuf Prep High School Dance Team Interview with Ann Coan

The Brebeuf Jesuit High School is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Their Girls Varsity Dance Team Brebeuf Dance Teamfinished 1st Place in the Indiana High School Dance Team Association State Championships. The team closed out their highly successful season as State Champions in the AA Jazz division and State Runner Ups in the AA Hip Hop division! Also, this was the third State Championship for the Brebeuf Dance Team, winning previously in 2010 and 2012. Additionally, one of their soloists finished 4th in State Senior Solos and two of their younger soloists finished 3rd and 5th in the State Junior Solos.

Ann Coan, the Head Coach of the Brebeuf Dance Team, describes their team as a diverse group of talent and technical backgrounds. All 22 dancers work for the benefit of the team, which has produced multiple State Championships. The team has been described as “outside the box of typical high school dance teams”, “mature”, and “exploring new territory in choreography and performance.”

In Ann’s opinion what separates their dance team from other dance programs is the culture of the Brebeuf Dance Team which is one of hard work, mutual respect, and openness to growth. The girls lift up and empower each other for the benefit (more…)

Interview with John Carroll High School Dance Team Coach

   Lori Tombrello, Head Dance Coach of John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham Alabama, believes their team is different from other teams because of the environment they have created.  “Our school and our dance team operate like one big family, starting from our Principal, to the Athletic Directors, to the coaches, to the dancers.”  Their season runs almost year round with the exception of a few short breaks.  Consequently, they get to know each other very well.  Additionally, there are three divisions (middle school, junior varsity and varsity) so the girls dance together for many years – longer than the typical teams in a three-year high school.   She also points out that since the coaching staff grew up dancing together, they are very close.  Accordingly, they have an unusual opportunity to build relationships and trust among the staff and the students.  “We know how to build trusting relationships with our dancers so they feel comfortable giving it their all in practice.”  Practices are strenuous and the staff expects 110%.  According to Lori, the girls know the coaches are rough on them because they want them to reach their maximum potential.  Ultimately, the girls love and appreciate that challenge.
 Since the (more…)

Ridgewood Poms Interview with Daniela Briguglio

2013 Ridgewood Poms
This week I was able to speak with Daniela Briguglio who coaches the Ridgewood Poms. Daniela explains that over the years the dancers from the Ridgewood Poms have become more and more technical with their dancing. The girls have started dancing at a much earlier age making them a great deal more precise in their dance moves. Every year the girls use a new theme during their competitions and try to tell a story with their dance. This makes it extra fun for the girls and enables them to interact with the audience.  
The girls choreograph all of the dances themselves which helps them become more engaged in the dance they are preforming. Over the last several years, the dance team has gone to “TDI” dance competitions. Last year was the first year that dance was made a sport, so they competed at “IHSA” competitions instead of TDI. Last year, in the team’s very first “IHSA” competition, they made it to State and were able to rate 15th out of 30 in their division. 
Daniela has advised dancers just starting out that it is a good idea to be able to take criticism so that you can learn from your (more…)