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In Step With DC
Getting to Know You: Miss Ava!
Written by Joe Naftal on September 10, 2019

Today we are featuring Miss Ava in our latest edition of “Getting to Know You”!  The “Getting to Know You” series helps us get to know each of the Dance Connection teachers and staff we get to see at the studio every week and learn a little bit more about them.

Why do you love teaching at Dance Connection? I’m honored to have become a member of the Dance Connection teaching staff! I love teaching at Dance Connection because I’ve danced here for many years and I’ve learned so much from the teachers I’ve taken classes with. I’m excited to be able to share my knowledge and love of dance with my students. Dance Connection isn’t just a dance studio, it’s a second home for many of us, and I’m proud to be a part of it!

What’s the best way for dancers to approach your class? The best way for dancers to approach my class is with a smile and an open mind! Anyone at any age can dance if they want to! As a dancer myself, I think the best class experiences are when you know you’re working hard and having fun at the same time. I want each dancer to enjoy taking classes as much as I do. I hope the dancers will come to class knowing that they’re improving their physical and mental health, supporting each other, and (most importantly) having fun!

What’s the best way for parents to support their dancers? I think the best way for parents to support their dancers is to be there for them, but also to give them space to learn and grow. Just like many other activities, dancers that strive to improve their skills will face triumphs and failures along the way, and an encouraging smile can make all the difference. At the same time, dancers need to push themselves and learn to improve because they want it badly enough within themselves, not because they think someone else wants it for them.

What do you do in your spare time? I like to be active, so I’ve started running more races. As Baymax from Big Hero 6 said, I am not fast, but I’ve grown to love running and try to push myself and improve my pace with each race I do.

What’s your go-to coffee order? I’m not really a coffee drinker, but around the holidays I like to order the Caramel Brulee Latte from Starbucks. I’m a big fan of the holiday season, so sometimes I think I go there for the red cup more than the drink itself!

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Walt Disney World! It was my first real vacation when I was younger, and I enjoy making new memories there now. There’s so much to see and do there, even for adults!

What’s your favorite local restaurant? This is a tough one, because my favorite restaurant isn’t local! I think I’d say the Oconee or Peter Pan Diners, just because I’m a picky eater (as everyone knows) and the diner’s always a safe “when all else fails” spot to find something to eat. If Cracker Barrel ever comes to Long Island, my answer will change very quickly!

Joe Naftal

Joe Naftal is the Marketing Director for Dance Connection. When not working at Dance Connection, Joe has a career as a theatrical lighting designer, assistant designer, and production manager. His experience spans the worlds of classical and contemporary theatre, musicals, ballet, modern dance, and opera. In addition to his work at Dance Connection, Joe collaborates with Dance Studio Owners across the country, is a member of the Panel of Experts, has been featured in the business section of Dance Teacher Magazine, and was on the seminar faculty for the 2016 Dance Teacher Summit in New York City. Joe holds a BFA from UNC School of the Arts and is a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).