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In Step With DC
Getting to Know You: Miss Melinda!
Written by Joe Naftal on October 5, 2018

Today we are featuring our Studio Manager, Miss Melinda, 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.

What is your hometown? Deer Park, NY

What’s the story of how you became a dancer?  I started dancing when I was 5 years old, and up until I was 10 I only took ballet.  I then joined a competition team and began taking all types of dance. 

What impact has dance had on your life? Dance has always been an important part of my life.  I have met so many great people and have made so many friendships that have become like family to me.  

When did you start teaching dance? I started teaching dance in 1990 when I was 16 years old. 

What are you passionate about outside dance? Outside of dance I am passionate about my family.  I enjoy spending time with my husband Lou, my daughter Emily who is also a teacher at Dance Connection, and my son Matthew.  We also have a large extended family that we spend time with also.

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later? I wish students would ask how they could improve their skills for a certain step or form of dance.  We could then steer them in the right direction to achieve what they are trying to accomplish if they are willing to put in the work.

In your opinion, what makes dance such a great activity and art form? I think dance is a great activity and art form because it allows students to express themselves and there are so many different types of dance that everyone could find a type they love!

College and Major? I went to St Joseph’s college with a degree in Business Management.

Favorite Color? Pink

Favorite Dance Movie? My favorite old dance movie would be Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singing in the Rain. A more modern dance movie would be Dirty Dancing.

Secret Talent? I make fancy birthday cakes. Each year I make special birthday cakes for my kids from castles to trains to guitars. It is fun!

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).