Ballerina, Zarina Stahnke, striking a pose in all white.
School starts in one week which means I’m back as Ballet Mistress at Seaside Neighborhood School, our local charter middle school.
Today was my officially my first day back at work.
After spending much of the day hacking away on my computer writing a course syllabus and lesson plans, let me say I have a HUGE respect for teachers!
Last year I may have briefly mentioned my new role, but became so busy with it all that I didn’t get a chance to really go into detail. I’ll try to give you the reader’s digest version: I co-founded a new Dance Education program for Seaside Neighborhood School with another dance instructor and SNS Principal, Cathy Brubaker. With no funding, we were brave little warriors and committed to launching a five-day-a-week Dance Education program for students as an alternative to P.E. After plenty of planning, patience and perseverance, we did it! We actually found out only a few days before school started that the program was approved! Talk about flying by the seat of your pants.
We had a great year and the students loved the program. Happy students and lots of learning? Success!! Last year was my first year teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Ballet – we had a total of 23 students. During the school year our dancers had three performances with our SNS Music Department. We officially debuted!
Of note: our oldest attends SNS so it’s an added bonus when I get to see him at “work.” ; ) We have three more kiddos in line for SNS after him.
Our program received heartfelt support from Seaside founders, Robert and Daryl Davis. Three years ago, I started a Ballet class for the Mentor program with SNS students. We didn’t have a studio or anywhere to dance, so Mr. and Mrs. Davis generously donated their beach home as a place for me to teach. How generous is that??? I bought a few portable barres and we were ready to rock. Here I am with our first group in 2009. Many of these girls are now in high school!
This year Seaside Neighborhood School added a studio for all of our dance classes, which is beyond exciting! Our mirrors were installed today and I nearly glued myself to the them in sheer delight after they went up…the nice guys installing them probably thought I was nuts.
The last thing I’ll say is this – in college I had a dream of starting a FREE dance program for students and actually started my own volunteer program called ARTS ALIVE. I did some teaching and had high hopes of making it a big program someday. 20 years later it makes my heart flutter knowing that a program just like this has officially started. Offering Dance Education and inspiration to students is a great privilege. What an honor it is to be part of this incredible team…I feel so grateful.
Can’t wait to share more about our progress with you this year!