FACULTY MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Kelly Kunst
Kelly teaches a zillion classes—and by the way, we adore her—so we sat her down recently to ask her a few questions about her tireless dedication to dance:
FOR FUN, CAN YOU ESTIMATE HOW MANY HOURS OF DANCE CLASS YOU’VE TAUGHT, INCLUDING REHEARSALS, OVER THE PAST DECADE?
Oh wow, I’ve never tried to figure it out before. If an average week is 22–25 hours and there a few days off in a year, then about 1,200 hours per year, or about 12,000 hours of dance class over the past decade!
WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK TO THE STUDIO AND TO JOMDC?
Definitely my students. From the youngest to the oldest, to the once-a-week dancers, to the many-hours-per-week dancers, I love them all! Every day I learn something new from them; as a teacher there’s nothing better than watching your students grow and learn and become more confident. Seeing the genuine happiness that dance brings to people is awesome. Every day I feel like the luckiest person in the world—when I go to work I get to dance and to share my love of dance with others. From the beginning, I have loved JOMDC’s motto of Dance is for Everyone®. I am so proud to be part of an organization that believes in bringing dance to all and respects and values every single dancer regardless of level or background.
WHERE DO YOU TURN FOR CHOREOGRAPHY INSPIRATION?
DOES IT START FOR YOU WITH MUSIC, OR A FEELING?
I find inspiration everywhere. Often I will hear music and know immediately that I need to choreograph to it. I do a lot of improv in my living room to get started. For movement, I find inspiration watching people in everyday life, the way someone walks or gestures, or from the shape or look of inanimate objects. I’ve often been spotted out in public spontaneously dancing on the sidewalk, or on the metro when inspiration hits.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR THE BRAND-NEW DANCER?
It’s going to be harder than you think, and you will probably get frustrated, but stick with it because it will be so worth it. Be able to laugh at yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes…and take LOTS of classes. Try different styles and teachers to figure out how you like to move and who you are as a dancer. Most of all, have an open mind. You will learn so much more than you ever imagined. You are starting a journey that can last for the rest of your life; enjoy every moment of it.
WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT FOR A DANCER?
TECHNIQUE OR PASSION?
Passion! You can learn technique and work on it in every class you take, but nobody can give you passion. You can’t fake passion. A dancer with passion is exciting to watch, no matter their level or experience.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF JOMDC? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT US?
I hope that JOMDC continues to grow and thrive, and bring dance to anyone and everyone that wants to dance. I want people to know that this is THE place to dance. Just come in, check it out, and try a class…you won’t be disappointed. JOMDC is made up of an amazing team of staff, faculty, and workstudy volunteers that all share the same love of dance.
WORKSTUDY OF THE MONTH: Mary Dellatorre / JOMDC BethesdaWorkstudy Member, Mary Dellatorre from JOMDC Bethesda has served JOMDC as a studio workstudy member for several years. She has appeared in more than one Studio to Stage Performance Class Showcase and is a frequent participant in JOMDC classes including ballet, Release Technique, hip hop, and tap! We couldn’t be more grateful to workstudy volunteers like Mary who support our mission that Dance Is for Everyone.® We asked Mary why she keeps coming back to class and some other fun facts:
I take at least 14 hours and many times up to 21 hours a week of class and or rehearsal.
Why do you keep dancing?
I LOVE to dance. I keep coming back to JOMDC for the technique and the variety of styles of dance that are offered and of course the workstudy benefit of unlimited free classes!
How long have you been a workstudy?
I have been a work study since 2010.
What would you tell the beginner student?
I would tell the beginning dancer that even though dance looks so simple you must realize it takes years to gain the skills that make it look simple. The most important thing to do if you want to be an accomplished dancer is TO TAKE CLASS.