December 2014 | Teacher in the Spotlight |Nancy Pattison


Nancy Pattison

Owner, president, and founder, Nancy Pattison’s Dance World, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

NOMINATED BY: Cindy Pattison-Rivard, daughter: “My mom, Nancy Pattison, owner and operator of our family-oriented dance school, is celebrating 60 years in dance education. Nancy’s was one of the first studios in the area and continues to offer dance lessons and life lessons, and to inspire dancers of all ages. Many alumni have gone on to pursue dance careers all over the world.”

YEARS TEACHING: 60, since the age of 14

GENRES TAUGHT: Tap, ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, hula

AGES TAUGHT: 3 to adult

HOW SHE STARTED DANCING: I had some medical issues with my ankles when I was young, and my parents thought dance would help. I enrolled in baton twirling lessons at the age of 6. From there I added ballet, tap, and jazz.

Photo by Elizabeth Rivard

Photo by Elizabeth Rivard

WHAT MAKES HER A GOOD TEACHER: I feel that when teaching dance, you are not only teaching the fundamentals and technical aspects of your art, but you must understand that you are teaching life lessons and influencing the next generation. It is crucial that we, as educators of children and young adults, realize the impact and long-lasting effects our lessons may have on individuals.

HOW STUDENTS WOULD DESCRIBE HER: Loving, passionate, professional, and dedicated.

FONDEST MEMORY FROM THE PAST YEAR: Our studio lost a beautiful dancer and also a wonderful teacher last year. Seeing my students and staff overcome loss through dance was something I will cherish forever. It’s amazing how expressing your emotions through dance can be so healing.

BEST PART OF BEING A TEACHER: Being able to communicate with young children. I feel that this generation of young dancers is so smart and has a lot of street savvy. Getting my point across and connecting with them is always a challenge, and I pride myself on being able to do so.

GREATEST CHALLENGE: It’s always been to keep my studio doors open. Studio owners are in a constant struggle to be successful. But, with the help of a fantastic office management team and staff members, we have thrived.

MOTIVATION: My family and especially my daughter, Cindy, who now runs the studio. I am somewhat retired, but I still love to be in the studio, helping the next generation of teachers pass on the joy of dance to students.

HOW SHE COPES WITH STRESS: Cry a little, dust myself off, and know that the studio will continue because there will always be little ones who want to put on a tutu and pirouette around the room.

PRE-STUDIO PREPARATION: Of course, you need to prepare your lessons, but I never feel as if I need to prepare mentally. It is my home away from home, and every day is a new adventure. Certainly roadblocks and challenges come my way, but there is always a brighter tomorrow.

ADVICE FOR TEACHERS: Be there for your students. Be firm, nurture them. Always remember: we, as educators, are the ones who set impressions on these youthful minds.

DO YOU KNOW A DANCE TEACHER WHO DESERVES TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT? Email your nominations to Please include why you recommend this teacher, plus his or her contact information.