Teacher/choreographer, multiple studios in the New York/New Jersey region
NOMINATED BY: Elaina DiBenedetto, student: “I am so lucky that more than 10 years ago Wendy Stein walked into my dance studio and my life. She introduced me to modern dance and encouraged me to dance my first solo; her unwavering confidence has pushed me to do things I might otherwise have let pass by. She is the epitome of what a dance teacher should be.”
YEARS TEACHING: 30
AGES TAUGHT: 4 to adult
GENRES TAUGHT: Ballet, pointe, and modern
WHY SHE BECAME A TEACHER: Teaching allows me to mentor and encourage young dancers, encourage them to appreciate the arts, and give them the chance to feel the way dance makes me feel.
PROFESSIONAL SELLING POINTS: I pride myself on my ability to make any dancer look his or her best. In my dance career I performed in Europe, Thailand, India, South America, and the Caribbean, and those experiences allow me to pass on a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and insight.
TEACHING STUDENTS TO BE ARTISTS: Being a phenomenal dancer means nothing if you can’t tell a story and connect with an audience. I push my students to explore movement and space and to express their emotions rather than presenting superficial and forced movement.
MULTIPLE-STUDIO CHALLENGES: At any given time I am teaching at five to seven studios. I have music, choreography, and dance concepts that are studio specific, because each studio and its students have their own unique qualities. It’s not difficult for me, and it helps keep me on my toes.
STUDENTS WOULD DESCRIBE HER AS: Reliable, responsible, creative, knowledgeable, honest, disciplined, and real. It is important to be honest because it will help my students improve and grow.
AT THE END OF THE DAY: I like to spend time with my sons and walk my dog. Gardening and reading also help me wind down. When I’m not working, you can find me relaxing at the beach.
FONDEST TEACHING MEMORY: A 6-year-old student gave me a seashell from the beach; inside, with a red marker pen, she had written “I love you.” That small gesture reminds me that it is the little things in life that matter.
TEACHING WISH LIST: That more studios would offer modern dance, which can challenge students and push their technique and abilities to a new level. Also, I’d like to see more classes pertaining to choreography and how to enhance a dance through use of props.
ADVICE FOR STUDENTS: Hard work pays off, not just in dance but throughout life. I advise them to experience all the great things life has to offer.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. It was such an exciting and joyful performance, and seeing it challenged my own approach to choreography and concepts.
FAVORITE CHOREOGRAPHER: Martha Graham. Her work expresses emotions such as love, hate, joy, and sadness. I am inspired and try to emulate her pieces by incorporating emotion into my own, and to push students to explore their own emotions.
DO YOU KNOW A DANCE TEACHER WHO DESERVES TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT? Email your nominations to email@example.com. Please include why you recommend this teacher, plus his or her contact information.