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In Step With DC
What Inspires Our Teachers?
Written by Erin Sforza on January 30, 2018

Have you ever watched a recital performance and wondered, “Where do they come up with all of that choreography? How do they put together so many different dances?” Today we’re going to find out what inspires our teachers to choreograph, to teach, and to dance!






Miss Donna:

Over the years I’ve used some of my life experiences as an inspiration for some of my choreography, but probably the biggest inspiration is the piece of music itself that I’ve chosen. It just sort of “speaks to me”, or gives me a “vision”.
My inspiration to dance myself comes from many different places, a few of which are: growing up watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Jane Powell, The Nicholas Brothers, Shirley Temple, The Rockettes, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines and the list goes on! Another inspiration for me is the stage itself…I feel like I was born to be up there entertaining others and bringing them the same excitement and joy that I get when watching a Broadway show or that old dance movie.
I actually didn’t intend on teaching forever, but, I fell in love with it. My students constantly inspire me and I am blessed to share my love of dance with them and hopefully instill in them the same passion and excitement that dance will always bring me!
Miss Christina:

My students inspire me for sure! Every time I feel that I’ve taught something and a dancer has truly understood what I said and is able to apply it, it’s an amazing feeling!
The incredible, poised, strict, graceful world of ballet inspires me. I feel so in my element in a ballet class, even through difficult times or steps. I come alive when I am in a ballet class; both as a dancer and as a teacher.
Miss Jenn:

What most inspires me is my students. They are the reason why I do what I do and why love it so much. It’s always amazing to see my love and passion for this art through the eyes and lives of young dancers.
When I choreograph a piece first I look to the inspiration of the song, and then a possible life event that is happening around.
Miss Melinda:

I get inspired by different types of music for choreography.  Typically I will hear a song and in my mind I can picture what type of dance (jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical. contemporary etc.) I would do to the song.  I can see dancers doing different types of steps, and see costume colors I would use for the dance.
As far as teaching, the students inspire me.  In the younger classes their eagerness to learn new things and how excited they are about coming to dance excite and inspire me.  In the older classes when they see themselves improve or get a step they have been struggling with inspire me to help them become the best they can be.
Miss Melissa:

I knew from a young age that being a dance teacher was something that was very important to me. I am always inspired by my students who are just as excited to learn as I was at their age. I love working with the younger dancers and teaching them the foundations to help them be successful dancers in the future.
Miss Arial:

There are many different things that inspire me as a teacher and choreographer. I’m known for teaching a very wide range of styles and dances that tell a story. One of the things that inspire my choreography is a past or present experience that can relate to the song (good or bad) and those feelings become movement, and then passed to my students. Movies, art, concerts, and Broadway shows also play a big part in what inspires me to choreograph the pieces I teach.
Miss Tiffany:
My inspirations would definitely be my kids, my mom, my husband and my students. They all inspire me to be a better person which in turn will make me a better dancer and teacher. They teach me that making mistakes is the only way to get better. They teach me to trust and respect. So, to me….that is true inspiration.
Miss Brooke-Ashley:
It all started 2 years ago when I subbed for Mr. Thomas on a competition weekend.  There was no one available from the TTP, so I stepped in to help.  I enjoyed helping so much that it made me realize that I wanted to teach!  I trained years ago, but it started to be too much for me with school and competing, so I stopped.  This experience helped me to realize that I did love teaching and that it would bring me happiness.
I can’t really say I had one particular inspiration as a dancer, but the feeling it brought me was incredible.  It still amazes me that I could be having the worst day, but dance could solve that.  Dance was my relief; I always left feeling happy and like there were no cares in the world.
Miss Nikki:
The first time I really helped a young dancer succeed in learning a new step the feeling was so amazing I knew I wanted to teach. Watching my students get better and better as the year goes along was such a great feeling that I decided to study for a career in teaching!
As a dancer I was always inspired by the dancers around me. They pushed me to work harder and to be a better dancer. I always watched them with the hope that one day I could be as good a dancer as they were.
When I choreograph, the music is usually what inspires me. It can bring to mind experiences and emotions from my own life that I use to create the movement and placing for my students.
Miss Molly:
In the world of dance we don’t just have one role. I’m a Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer and Artist. From the time I can remember dance has been such a big part of my life. I can’t imagine not having it in my life on a bad day, a good day or even an ordinary day. It has always been there for me. Tap is not everyone’s favorite but it is mine! A big shout out to my long time tap teacher Miss Mary for helping me get to where I am today. I also have to give recognition to the iconic duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! I wish I was born with their feet.
When I get in the class room my STUDENTS absolutely inspire me. I’ve been in their shoes but I’m just in awe of the talent, the commitment and the trust that they place in me. They are so brave for walking in the door week to week ready for what is thrown at them. The best feeling is when they smile when they get that step they have been working on or they make a little progress in their eyes and you know you had a little part of that. They make me want to do better and continue to learn and create side by side them.  Imagination and dreams are endless!
Miss Victoria:
Seeing the impact I can have on others and the joy of watching the excitement in a child’s eyes when they learn something new, inspires me to teach.
Having an outlet to express my feelings and the positive result movement has on the mind and body, not only of myself but others around me, inspires me to dance.
Miss Mary:
There is so much that inspires me but it I had to pick just one it would be my students.  They inspire me to  be the best teacher I can be for them and to never stop learning.  They deserve the best of me always.
Erin Sforza

Erin is the Public Relations Coordinator for Dance Connection. She studied dance from childhood through college and continues to be an active member of the Long Island theatre community. Erin received a BA in both Musical Theatre Performance and History from the University of Tampa, and has utilized aspects of both degrees working in the hospitality industry, as an Event Coordinator for the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, and as the PR/Marketing Coordinator and Group Sales Coordinator for the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale. In addition to being a part of the Dance Connection staff, she is a Travel Consultant affiliated with and