What Motivates One to Dance?

Monie with a young FOCUS student.

What motivates one to be a teacher of dance?

I believe for me the motivation began at age five when I was always dancing to music and found the connection of the two filled me up with such glee that I was forever changed! My wonderful parents recognized my love for dance and immediately signed me up for dance classes! Not only did dance fill my heart with joy, but it also motivated and inspired me, gave me confidence, taught me responsibility and teamwork, put me in great physical shape, and gave me an amazing social connection to my peers.

Performing opened the door for me to be able to share the joy, bliss, and glee I felt while dancing. It also gave me the ability to touch the hearts, souls, and spirits of others through stage performance while feeling confident in any situation!

At about age 16, I discovered my passion for teaching and realized that it was not just about teaching “kick ball change or pivot turn” but about lifting students to realize their full potential and helping people to build their confidence, motivation, teamwork through dance, helping them to feel good about themselves and to use these life skills to shape them into their best selves.

A Dance Journey

This began my life fulfilling dance journey and what a wonderful ride it has been and continues to be! Dancing has opened so many doors of grand experiences, from touring the United States with my 8th grade singing and dancing group “Sound Express”, to dancing for Disney, in music videos, principal dancer for Rhapsody in Taps, dancer on the big screen, and graduating with a B. F. A. in Dance and Performance from the University of California, Irvine. After receiving an O.C. lifetime teaching Credential, I was able to continue my path in dance by working on the faculties of the University of California, Irvine, United States International University, Cypress College, Chapman College, and a Professorship at California State University, Chico. 

On this amazing ride as a performer, dancer, and teacher I was able to use my creative diverse choreographic abilities in earning three Emmy Nominations, five American Choreography Award Nominations, and winner of the American Choreography Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Television Variety Series” (MADtv). I was honored to be a recipient of the Choreography Media Honor for my choreographic work in the television industry, and am currently a member of the Television Academy, and represented by both CTG and TRIO Talent Agencies. 

Focusing on FOCUS

My most rewarding experience has been opening “FOCUS Dance Center” in 2003. I am proud to lead a top-notch team of staff and faculty that offer amazing innovation and creativity, while providing the students with success in building life skills, self-confidence, kindness, and the mental and physical health through the art of dance and fitness.

The greatest proof of how dance can empower and be life fulfilling as it has been for me, is represented by the thousands of FOCUS Dance Center students. FOCUS alums have thrived from their dance and fitness training. The self-confidence building classes gave them the tools to believe in themselves to pursue careers in law, medicine, education, performing arts, socially conscious businesses, and much more. And I can’t wait to see how our current students will evolve in their growth through dance.

For me, teaching students’ life skills through dance and fitness, instilling them the gift of self-esteem and confidence, to empower them to dream big, think outside of the box, and for them to create a future filled with joy and contentment, is everything. 

This is what motivates me to dance and teach. I look forward to seeing our students’ positive effect in the world!