Each month we are featuring a different dance blog on our “spotlight” at 4dancers. Here’s the one we have chosen for December–Maria’s Movers, Move. Create. Educate.
1. Can you tell readers a bit about your background in dance?
I grew up dancing. Since the age of 3 I loved it. I think that might be why I love teaching 3’s so much. My Mom and Dad signed me up for dance because they thought it would bring me out of my shell! I think it worked, but not until later in my life.
The thing is I never wanted to be a professional dancer, I always wanted to be a dance educator. When I was at college for dance so many of my classmates wanted to be professional dancers. I remember one of my professors saying to the class of aspiring dancers, ” teaching will always be your fallback.” I never agreed. I work hard everyday to make sure I am a loving and creative dance educator who really want kids to love and appreciate dance.
2. When did you begin your blog—and why did you start it?
I started Maria’s Movers, Move. Create. Educate. because I wanted a place to keep and share my ideas. When I first started out, I had trouble finding people who wanted to talk about teaching young children. I thought this would be a way I could talk about it and whoever wanted to talk, read, and join in was welcome. It has become such an amazing resource for me and I hope other dance educators find it useful too.
My blog covers unique, innovative, and creative ideas for early childhood dance educators. I love the community we have built. I recently had a reader write “I have tried all of the ideas you blog about and they all work with young children!” That’s good to know because sometimes when when it comes to teaching and then writing down the ideas, things get lost in translation. Plus not everything works for everyone. I want teachers to take what I write and make the lessons their own AND I love hearing their ideas too! I really try to push the envelope on creative ways for kids to learn about life and dance together. Giving ideas to teachers makes me so happy!
4. What has been the best part about participating in the dance community online?
The best part of being a part of the online community is how many friends I have made and people I have met here. It’s amazing that people I have never met can inspire me daily. It’s such a supportive group. I just love the idea of learning from each other online, pressure and ego free. It’s just wonderful!
5. What other dance blogs do you read?
I read these blogs in no particular order Dance Advantage, Letters from Leaping Legs, Sheena Jeffers, Educating Dancers, Picture Books and Pirouettes, dancepulse, Dancing Branflakes, Grab Your Sneaks.
Connect with Maria here:
BIO: Maria holds a Master’s degree in dance education (2007) from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in dance performance from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania (2005). A huge advocate for early childhood dance education, Maria teaches 18 months-6 year olds, 6 days a week.
Maria currently designs and teaches ballet and movement programs for the young families and after school division at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. She teaches early childhood creative movement and ballet classes at Dancewave Center and is also on faculty at Mark Morris Dance Groupwhere she teaches creative dance and parent/toddler classes. Previously, Maria has been a teaching artist for New York City Ballet and has been a movement specialist at York Avenue Preschool.
Maria is the creator of Maria’s Movers, a program that offers dance, movement and yoga classes to boys and girls in the early years. She authors the blog Move. Create. Educate where she shares her creative ideas about teaching young dancers.