Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dance Teacher Summit 09 Gala NYC

I'd like to start out by giving my thanks to Suzanne Gerety of She very graciously invited me to the Dance Teacher Summit Gala. I was so honored when I received her invite. Her and her mom Kathy Blake and their website DSO have been a huge inspiration to me. I am so thankful for our friendship and the wonderful work these women do for the dance community and dance studio owners. Keep inspiring ladies, you are awesome!!

The Gala was held at the Hudson Theatre in NYC on July 29th. I arrived right at 8pm(darn NYC traffic) and was greeted by Suzanne in the lobby. We have been chatting online through twitter and the DSO site for about a year now, so it was such a great thing to finally meet in person. Before entering the theatre Suzanne pointed out Travis Wall!(I no longer felt guilty for missing the SYTYCD episode that night, hehe) I absolutely love Travis, I am a huge fan and was proud of myself that I held back my inner 13 year old giddy screaming girl. As I calmly walked pass him and entered the theatre Suzanne introduced me to Marc Kirschner of, a twitter friend of hers whom I am now following as well. Before the show started I also got to meet a fellow tweep of mine, Chad Michael of who I follow on both my twitter accounts. It really is a great thing to meet people in real life who you interact with on a daily basis online.

The show started a little late but it gave us time to chat more so I didn't mind one bit. The opening was wonderful, a piece by The Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Rockin N' Rhythm." Then a wonderful performance choreographed bye Kate Jablonski, the Capezio A.C.E award first runner-up. Mike Minery and Gregg Russell then did their rendition of "Moses Supposes." It was really neat to see the original up on big screen above them as they taped on stage.

I was really moved listening to the winner of the 2009 Dance Teacher Magazine Award (K-12 Education), Ann Shea from Tennessee Arts Commission and Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga. In her speech she talked about how important it is to provide dance to children ages K-12. It made me feel great that I'm a part of that in the dance community. My students may not go on to be prima ballerinas or professional dancers, but I'm making a difference in their lives by introducing dance and the love of movement to them. I got very emotional at this point but it just confirmed that I'm meant to do what I'm doing, I'm blessed to have found my calling in life.

"Shameless" a piece from the Broadway show Movin' Out was next. It was hot, hot, hot to say the least!! Performers Laurie Kanyok and Keith Roberts beautifully performed Twyla Tharps choreography.

A very interesting piece performed by Billy Siegenfeld and Kelly Malone Dudley followed. It was titled "Why Gershwin?" and kept you on the edge of your seat.

The Capezio A.C.E Award second runner-up Jaci Royal introduced her piece "One Worth Leaving" then Gregg Russell showed us some more of his awesome tapping skills. Awards were presented for teachers of higher education and private studios such as John Griffin of Ohio State University and Bonnie Scheutz of Boni's Dance and Performing Arts Studio.

Two beautiful performers, Ashley Bouder and Amar Ramasar, from New York City Ballet made a special guest performance then Lawrence Rhodes accepted the 2009 Dance Teacher Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award.

Finally, last but not least, Denise Wall introduced Travis, the Capezio A.C.E award Winner!! I don't know if its because I am already a fan of Travis, or his amazing work, or a combination of the both, but my jaw dropped and I had the chills during the entire piece. "Its Gonna Be a Long Walk" was one to remember for sure!!

After the Gala we took some pictures and even got to see Mandy Moore.

The night was truly amazing! Suzanne even gave me my own DSO t-shirt and chap stick as a memento, she is way too nice to me!!

For more information on the dance teacher summit please visit their website at

Also if you are a studio owner or teacher and are not already a member of Suzanne and Kathy's site please go visit and take a look for yourself at how valuable a membership would be.
click me
Here is just a small example of how they motivate and inspire their members...

Thank for reading!
Peace, Love and Dance to all!!
~Miss Leslea

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Behind the Scenes Recital 2009

I love hanging out with my students and moms backstage before the show. The room is full of energy and excitement! I like to see how my students are feeling, which is usually nervous. Also, the new moms have questions and students like to chat with me before a performance to calm their nerves. I make it a point to go back there every year to help. Then, we take pics and give hugs to put them all at ease. At that point I feel like a proud mom of 100, everyone looking so pretty and ready to perform and show the audience what we worked so hard for all year. Take a look for yourself, some video clips and pictures from right before our show...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rehearsal-June 25, 2009

As promised, here is a little glimpse into our Rehearsal night. I can't believe a month has already past. Looking back, as I edited this footage, reminds me of how proud I am of my students. You will notice some frightened faces, some smiles, some silliness, but all with the love of dance. That's what makes me the proudest. There are gonna be mistakes, but what truly matters is the confidence and joy that the kids experience after being up on that stage in front of their loved ones showing of their love of movement. This is why I love my job.

In the video bellow you will see 9 out of the 30 pieces that were in our show "Just Dance" which was held at the JCC of Clifton on June 28th, 2009. Keep in mind that this was our rehearsal, which is not a dress rehearsal. The students practice up to 3 times on stage, the first with me in the wings or directed them from below, the second for correction, and the third with me be able to comfortable watch as if I was an audience member. So, whenever I got a hot minute I grabbed my Flip and tried to capture what I could.

~Saturday 10:15am Ballet, ages 2.5-4 performing "At My Dancing School"
~Saturday 12:15am Tap, ages 5-6 performing "I Want It All"
~Cecelia M. age 7 performing "Here I Am"
~Saturday 2:15 Ballet, ages 7-8 performing "Can I Have This Dance"
~Saturday 2:15 Tap, ages 7-8 performing "Singing In the Rain"
~Saturday 2:15 Jazz, ages 7-8 performing "I Like to Move It"
~Wednesday Pointe performing "A New Day"
~Jennifer and myself performing a jazz duet to "Sorry"
~Finale, myself and the student teachers performing a jazz piece to "Just Dance"

Please take a look for yourself...

Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed it!
Keep an eye out for my next post about the Recital
Peace, Love & Dance
~Miss Leslea

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're Back!!

Hey there!! Did ya miss us?? As I explained in my last post, there was not much down time for me this year. There are several months of happenings I need to catch you up with. I'm looking forward to posting, tweeting and updating you all again. There is so much I would like to share with you, this will be the first of many post this summer.

Of course my first few weeks of vacation are all about renewing my spirit. This year, as always, I took a trip to the Caribbean the week after the recital. I spent a well deserved (yup I said it, I deserve it) week in Antigua with my love. Now its back to work, not officially since we decided to close completely this summer. What i mean by "work" is... Last year I started what I hope to be another yearly ritual of mine, I hope to use the summer to brainstorm about ways to make the upcoming season even better. I'm sure most dance teachers and studio owners do this regardless on some level. I intend however to be rather aggressive with this work.

I do a lot of online Networking with sites such as... (meeting/recruiting local teachers and fellow dancers)
~or~ (chatting with other teachers in the forum, sharing ideas, getting valuable information from Pros)
Simply posting on twitter or in this blog to keep my thoughts together and focused.

Last year this method was very successful for us. I'm in the process of visualizing and manifesting yet another year of excellence for Uptown, we will except nothing less =)

Stay tuned for Rehearsal, Recital, and Uptown Entertainment posts as well as my progress with this years improvements for a season that will begin before we know it.

Peace, Love, & Dance
~Miss Leslea