Erin is a Masters graduate of SUNY Stony Brook in teaching, undergraduate in Child Study and Speech Communications at St. Joseph’s College and is currently a third grade elementary school teacher with Three Village Schools with teaching experience at destination science camp. Her dance training through a local dance studio, Ginny Santangelo Dance Center contributes to her amazing talent teaching our little dancers ages 2 through 7 the beginning fundamentals of ballet, tap and jazz while keeping the classes fun and engaging using the award winning Twinkle Star Dance Curriculum that Dance Ponte is partnered with. This combination gives little ones and young stars a well-rounded and fun approach to beginning dance. Erin’s experience also goes beyond the classroom with choreography and recital management.
What is your hometown?
Stony Brook, New York
What’s the story of how you became a dancer and teacher?
I started dancing when I was five. My mom said that I never stopped moving and she thought I would like dance. I have been dancing ever since. I danced at the same studio for 17 years. The owner, Ginny, let her high school students assist with the younger classes, so when I was in 9th grade I started working as a dance teacher assistant to the combo dance classes.
What impact has dance had on your life?
Dance has made a huge impact on my life. In college, I was part of the Dance Club which is a student run volunteer club. Each semester, we put on a Dance Show, and we performed our show at local nursing homes. We also raised money for the cause The House of the Roses dance charity. At the end of each semester, all the members of the club would go to Columbia University to assist with the House of the Roses dance performance, and some of the dancers from House of the Roses would come and perform at our show. It was always so inspiring to see the young students who were living in a shelter, dancing their hearts out on the stage! It was during those moments that I realized that dance has the potential to change a life for the better.
Why did you start teaching dance?
I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. When I was in elementary school, I had an amazing teacher, and I knew that I wanted to be like her when I grew up. Being an elementary school teacher, I can use the skills that I have learned in the classroom and transfer them onto the dance floor for my dance students.
What are you passionate about outside dance?
Outside of dance, I enjoy spending time with my family, and I enjoy taking my dog, Buddy, for walks. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and finding a quiet place to read a great book.
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue dance as a career?
There was never a moment when I didn’t want to dance. I always knew that dancing was something that I would continue as long as I was able, whether it be teaching dance or taking dance classes, or just dancing around the kitchen acting silly.
If you weren’t a dancer and teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
If I wasn’t dancing, I would be working out in the gym instead.
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
Something I wish the students would ask me is how long I have been dancing. I love when they have been dancing for half a year, and I do a new step and they say, “Wow that’s cool. How did you do that? How long have you been doing this for?”
Do you have a favorite quote you like to tell your students?
When someone says they can’t do something I say “You just can’t do it YET” One of the classes I’m taking to further my teaching is about the power of yet, and I think it applies everywhere, and I’m always telling everyone they can’t do it yet, but that in time and with practice they will be able to do it!
In your opinion, what makes dance such a great activity and art form?
Dance is a great activity because you can put your whole body mind into it. It takes concentration, determination and passion. It’s a form of art because you can express yourself as you move across the floor.
What locations and classes do you teach?
I currently teach in Selden Twinkle Babies Ages 2-3, Twinkle Stars combo I and II Ages 3-4 and 5-6, and I teach Tap, Ballet and Jazz Level III.