Tanya has been featured on a local news Hip Hop segment, danced with the Jabbawackees and is a certified Aerobics Instructor, licensed in Zumba and Certified in CPR & Safety. She is currently the Dance Director for Chesapeake Parks & Recreation.
Q: What led you to become a dance teacher?
A: My parents signed me up for dance lessons at a young age after the girl who lived across the street told me about dancing. I went and tried it and that was all it took. As a kid, I danced everywhere and for everyone. After a year of dancing, I was invited to be on the competition team. I competed all over for more than 10 years. I worked hard to become a better dancer, and I eventually became a teacher's assistant at the studio. I continued to take dance classes in college and I am still teaching to this day. I love what I do. I am blessed, and dance makes me happy.
Q: What advice do you have for younger dancers who want to teach dance one day?
A: It takes discipline, determination and hard work, and you can never give up. Be sure to learn and study all varieties of dance. The more knowledge you have the better. Take as many classes as you can in and outside of the studio/school. Dance competitions hold conventions that offer master classes from professionals in the industry and is a great experience.
Dance takes determination and hard work. Make sure you get to your dance classes on time and that you're in the correct dance attire. Also, spend extra time practicing outside your regular dance schedule. To progress in dance you have to practice consistently. Remember only YOU can do this. No one else can do it for you. You have to be dedicated to be successful and give it your all. Always work hard, but don't compare yourself to others. No two dancers are alike.
As you get older ask if you can be a 'teacher's assistant.' This will give you an idea of what it is like to teach. When teaching dance, you must have patience and good communication with kids. Not everyone is designed to be a teacher. Teaching is a gift.
Finally, if dance is your passion, and you are a talented dancer and enjoy teaching, you can make it happen. You don't teach for the money. You teach dance because it's your passion. You do it for the love of the kids you teach, and the difference and impact you hope to make on your students.
I also encourage them to perform at all times; this means performing in class as you would on the stage. As dancers, we spend more time in class and rehearsals than performing on stage, and often times choreographers watch classes. If you are always dancing your best and practicing performance (in all of its forms: musicality, nuance, bravura, etc.), there's a stronger chance you'll find success quicker than if you simply waited for an audition to shine.
Q: What are some consistent traits/characteristics you see in the dancers or industry professionals that you interview/cover?
Kristyn: My answer is from the press/PR side of things. The ones who are consistently working in the industry are the ones who understand that it is show business. The show part is fun, but the business side is just as important.
The dancers and choreographers on the rise answer their emails in a timely fashion. They respond to press inquiries right away. They understand that social media is a part of their job and this goes beyond an Instagram page — Twitter, Facebook and posting your latest interviews are a part of the job description.
The sooner artists figure out how to manage the business side of the industry, the smoother the ride will be on the artistic side.