Owner/teacher, Expressions In Motion Dance, Tucker, Georgia
NOMINATED BY: Nicole Kedaroe, marketing associate: “After graduating from East Carolina University with a BFA in dance education, Whitney moved to Georgia to take on a position as full-time dance instructor at Vanderlyn Elementary School in Dunwoody, Georgia—a job she created for herself—while there, she came up with the idea for Expressions In Motion (EIM).
EIM serves as an afterschool dance program for DeKalb County elementary and middle school students. Whitney noticed it was hard for students to make it from school to a dance studio for training. EIM provides affordable classes in ballet, jazz, and hip-hop to more than 400 students in more than 10 afterschool programs onsite, at the schools.
Whitney is a phenomenal teacher. She is completely dedicated to her program and her students. Students, parents, and teachers adore her. She has created something unique with EIM.”
YEARS TEACHING: 10 years: 3 in a private studio and 7 in a public school and through Expressions in Motion Dance.
AGES TAUGHT: 4 to 11
GENRES TAUGHT: Ballet, hip-hop, jazz, modern, tap, lyrical, salsa, African, and creative movement.
WHY SHE CHOSE TEACHING AS A CAREER: I have always loved to dance, teach, and work with students, and I wanted to share my passion with others. Being able to do something I love as a career is very rewarding!
GREATEST INSPIRATION: My greatest inspiration was my dance teacher, Diane Yates-Biggs, in high school. She truly believed in me and in my passion for dance. She awarded me a scholarship to her studio and asked me to be in her senior dance company.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: All students have the ability to achieve their goals as dancers and should be given the opportunity to experience the joy of movement. My teaching philosophy is centered on instilling a passion for dance while also building self-esteem and confidence in every student. I provide quality, affordable dance for everyone.
WHAT MAKES HER A GOOD TEACHER: I get to know my students and their individual needs. I also make sure to get to know each of them as a person. I allow my students to be creative and share their ideas during dance class, which gives them a sense of ownership.
FONDEST TEACHING MEMORY: I have so many wonderful memories! My fondest memory is when one of my male students decided to go to a performing-arts high school to study dance. Knowing I helped to instill a passion for dance in him is an amazing feeling.
ADVICE TO TEACHERS: To listen to their students, find out what each one’s individual learning style is, and be inspired by students’ creativity.
IF SHE COULDN’T BE A DANCE TEACHER: I would be a stay-at-home mother to my wonderful 1-year-old son. Of course, we would have our own dance parties at home!
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: I believe that dance is an amazing emotional and physical outlet for students. Dance gives students a safe and healthy environment to express their feelings in a unique way. All children should be given the opportunity to explore dance. We do not turn down any child due to lack of funds.
DO YOU KNOW A DANCE TEACHER WHO DESERVES TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT? Email your nominations to Arisa@rheegold.com or mail them to Arisa White, Dance Studio Life, P.O. Box 2150, Norton, MA 02766. Please include why you think this teacher should be featured, along with his or her contact information.