Studio owner/instructor, Stepping Stone Dance Studio, Bristol, Pennsylvania
NOMINATED BY: Jennifer Walker, office administrator: “Dana Stone is an amazing person, mentor, and teacher who can’t help but have everyone love her and love being at Stepping Stone. Dana has danced since the age of 3 at Knecht Dance Academy and under the instruction of Carol Willson at Carol Willson Studio One. When Carol Willson Studio One (under new ownership) closed its doors abruptly in June 2011, Dana took over and made sure the show went on as scheduled; by July she had realized her dream of owning a dance studio. [She renamed it Stepping Stone.] What is amazing in this economy is that we have more than 200 students! I did not grow up around dance, but now I can’t imagine not being at the studio every night.”
YEARS TEACHING: 20-plus
AGES TAUGHT: 3 to adult
GENRES TAUGHT: Ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip-hop, cheer dance, stretch, acrobatics, and musical theater
WHY SHE CHOSE TEACHING AS A CAREER: Dancing has always been a part of my life; teaching allows me to deepen my passion for dance and share it with my students.
GREATEST INSPIRATION: Besides my mother, who is my inspiration for life, my youth dance instructor Carol Willson Wagner, who inspired me to follow my dreams of becoming a dancer/teacher and owning a studio. She taught me independence, confidence, and to be a risk taker. I try to instill the same qualities in my own students. To this day, Carol is a great mentor and teacher to me.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: To stay grounded in the love of dance, share the passion of dance in all its wonders with my students, and create a positive learning environment in the studio.
WHY SHE’S A GOOD TEACHER: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” This quote by William A. Ward says it all. Dancing allows us to inspire our students by telling a life’s story—all done through movement, accompanied by music.
FONDEST TEACHING MEMORY: The day I watched my dancers perform my choreography, and I cried because I could see that they felt what I had felt during the choreography process—a feeling that words can’t describe.
ADVICE TO STUDENTS AND DANCE TEACHERS: Remember that your dreams have no limits. Never waste time wishing you had done something. With hard work and dedication, everything is attainable, whether it’s a big or small goal. Always follow your dreams, because dreams do come true—I am proof of that.
IF SHE COULDN’T BE A DANCE TEACHER: I cannot imagine one day without dance in my life, but if teaching were not an option any more, I would continue to put my focus toward the nonprofit organization in which I am the president, the Truman Rams Youth Wrestling and Cheerleading Club. I could continue to coach dance teams and/or cheer squads. I couldn’t imagine not working with kids.
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