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          Good grief…where do I begin? As long as I can remember all I ever wanted to do was dance. Any music playing old or new, any genre, any tempo, and I was freestyling my best dance moves. I did not have the opportunity to take dance lessons at a young age, but that didn’t stop me. Recess time-I danced, grocery shopping-I danced, family get togethers-I danced, over niters-I danced. At a very young age, I was already choreographing routines for my friends or family, carefully planning out outfits, and creating mini recitals. Who would have thought that I would be doing that very same hobby today at my age, and fulfilling my childhood dream?


         By junior high age, I was completely obsessed with dance and music. I finally got the opportunity to perform my 1st solo in a  6th grade talent show, and took advantage of doing more solos any chance that I was given.  My junior high principal and music teacher recognized my passion for dance, and bought me a dance scholarship to attend real dance lessons. I remember feeling so frustrated, and how difficult it was for me to fit in with the other dance students. Partly due to the fact that my choreography was mostly free-style and not with real counts (I had never heard “5-6-7-8”). Partly because I only knew how to do dance solo and it was extremely hard for me to adjust to dancing in sync with an entire class.


         Finally, I caught up to my classmates in dance class and plateaued to the top. My teacher, Leslie Walden saw my intense enthusiasm whenever I danced and asked me to student teach the following year. At the very same time, I was becoming very active with the high dance team. Meantime, the youth director at the Y had heard about how active I was in dance and invited me to teach my own pom pom classes. I was so excited that I was actually bringing home a paycheck. Why was I getting paid? I wondered. This didn’t feel like a real job. Dancing was my hobby, my passion, my life. It didn’t seem fair to earn real money while entertaining a group of girls with music and dance steps.


         Dancing was an everyday part of my life from there on out. I student taught dance and gymnastics for Leslie 3-4 days a week from 1988 though 1995. I started the pom pom program for the Y in 1989 with a handful of eager students, and continued through 1995 teaching as many as 100 students. A true highlight and very important part of my life was being a member and co-captain of the MHS Dance Team from 1988-1991. I endured so many amazing dance experiences with countless performances, competitions, and exposure.


        In 1995, I took a huge leap of faith. I decided that I was ready to go on my own. I was so thankful for all of the opportunities that the Y, and Leslie   had given me, but I truly felt that I needed a place of my own. I started a small studio of just 60 students. In 1997, I opened a 2nd studio in Eldora and continued through 2007. Although, the community of Eldora was so welcoming and appreciative of me, I made the difficult decision to teach solely in Marshalltown and focus on 1 successful dance studio.


        Here I am 28 years later, and I am so grateful for all that I have experienced and enjoyed by being a dance teacher. I am so blessed to have fulfilled my dream of dancing and honored to have introduced dance to your child. After all of this time, I still can’t believe that I can enjoy my favorite music, dance, and earn a living all at the same time. Your children inspire me each day to dream bigger, and to be a better person. I only hope that I give them the inspiration to reach for their goals and have the confidence to try anything that they dream for. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce dance to your child.


                                                                                                          MISS TANYA


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