October: Faculty & Workstudy of the Month!

*We couldn’t make dance happen without our amazing faculty and the hundreds of volunteer hours that our workstudies give each year. We know who they are, and we want to share how amazing they are with you. Every month, we will highlight one amazing person from our faculty and our workstudy program.


When did you start dancing, in general?
I began dancing at the age of 7. I started with the Rockville Recreation and Parks department in an after school program. The teacher of the class informed my mom that I had some talent and encouraged her to enroll me in a real dance school, which is what I did!

What was the first class you taught at JOMDC? and when was it?
My first class at JOMDC was a modern class that met on Friday nights. I also taught an advanced jazz class on Sunday afternoons at 3pm at the Dupont Circle location. This class met before Dupont Alley Dance Company’s rehearsal, which I was a member of. My first classes at JOMDC were in 1990.

What is your favorite thing about being the YDE Director?
There are SO many things I love about YDE, but my favorite thing is watching young people become incredible young dancers and adults as they grow up in the program. I believe that the students who are involved in YDE are better people for having been a part of the program and contribute more to the world. I also LOVE being a catalyst for creating community. I love my YDE families!!

What do you do outside of dance?
Spend as much time as I can with the love of my life, Carl Rubbo. We spend a lot of time laughing! We also love the beach, movies, and restaurants. If we were rich, we would love to travel to exotic places or at least Italy, which is where Carl’s family is from.

What is your process to prepare to teach class?
How much time do you have? LOL! Preparing class is a 3-4 hour process. I begin by choosing music that inspires me. I also think about the kinds of music I have used recently and the needs of the class. If I have been doing slow/thoughtful combos in the recent weeks, I will change it up and choose some crazy drumming. Likewise, with jazz classes, I try to use a variety of things from Latin based, to contemporary to old classics. After I choose the music, I put it on repeat track and let it play over and over while I do other things, like folding laundry. Now the music is under my skin and I am ready to work. I create the combination, which takes about 2 hours. After I have finished the combination, I write the entire thing down, long-hand. This burns it in my brain. Then I go back to the set structure of my warm up and incorporate phrases from the combination into the warm up exercises. That way, when it’s time to do the combo, most of the material has been learned by the class and putting it together is easier. People often marvel at how much choreography my students learn during a class. The truth is, they know most of it by the time it comes to do it!

Favorite Class to take:
My favorite class used to be Helanius Wilkins class when he taught at JOMDC.

Favorite Class to teach:
ALL of them! I love each one of them for different reasons. Each class gives me something unique and special.

Favorite Color:

Favorite Food:
I love crab cakes (lots of crab and little filler, please), edamame, asparagus and tootsie rolls. I treat myself to 3 mini tootsie rolls a day….it’s my fat free guilty pleasure!

What would you tell people who had never danced before?
I would tell them that dance will benefit them more than they ever thought possible….physically, emotionally and spiritually. After all, DANCE IS FOR EVERYONE!!! Dancing is one of the most satisfying forms of self expression and once you try it, it will give you back more than you can imagine!


When did you start dancing at JOMDC?
I found JOMDC in 2009 after taking many, many years away from dance. Getting over my apprehension to rediscover dance was one of the most positive decisions I’ve made.

When did you start dancing, in general?
I began dancing at a local recreation center when I was 5, taking basic ballet, tap and jazz. Dance was traded for track and cheerleading in high school and college. After college, I began establishing myself in my career, and dance was just a memory, until I took my first JOMDC class.

When did you become a workstudy?
October 2010. Once I started taking classes, I was hooked. I had to figure out a way to incorporate the arts into my everyday life.

What do you do outside of dance? For Work? For Fun?
I balance my time working as a pediatric Occupational Therapist at a school in DC, performing, training and squeezing in some family and friend time.

Favorite Class:
There are so many great classes, that without, I don’t think my week would feel complete. I love Ballet with Tammy Hurt and Elana Anderson, they are such great support for all disciplines. I would say my absolute favorite class, though, is one I originally felt completely challenged and almost decided I would just never be good at: Tuesday Hip Hop with Derek Brown. Between the intricate movements and musicality he requires, you can’t help but to grow as a dancer!

Favorite Studio to Stage Performance:
Winter 2013 – Inspiration with Derek Brown. I had the opportunity to share the stage with an amazingly talented cast of ladies for a very meaningful piece. It was by far one of the most emotional 12 week studio to stage journey, in such a wonderful way!

Favorite Color:

Favorite Food:
Pizza – I could eat it every single day. Need any recommendations? I’ve got lots!

Favorite part about being a workstudy:
For the last 4 years, I’ve worked Saturday morning youth classes. My absolute favorite thing is watching the excitement for learning, moving and growing that comes through the door every single weekend. I’ve seen many students and families grow with JOMDC, particularly at the Atlas location and I am truly grateful to have witnessed all the amazing moments. Whenever I feel frustrated or stuck with my own growth as a dancer, I get the opportunity to be reminded of the pure joy dance can and does bring.

What would you tell people who had never danced before?
People who experience dance are so very lucky. Not many people in this world have a place where they be so vulnerable, yet powerful at the same time. Getting lost in the music and movement is a moment like no other. Don’t be afraid to try something because you’ve never done it. Personally, I’ve found the most joy in the things I NEVER thought I would be able to do. You’ll gain some amazing relationships along the way.