I consider myself one of the few people in their thirties that can honestly say that I am completely fulfilled and excited by my job. I have been committed to and nurtured by the art of dance since the age of three, and have worked my way up the scaffolding of a career in dance in some unexpected ways. After graduating with my BFA in dance, was able to find work that developed my skills as a dance educator and outreach instructor. These skills propelled me quickly through the ranks of Malashock Dance and within a few short years, I ended up as the Education Director for the organization.
Since my experience as a dancer and teacher seemed to be pieced together through many different experiences, I started looking for professional development opportunities that would allow me to fill in the gaps and find mentorship and guidance wherever possible.
When I was referred to the RAL Quick Grants program, I was thrilled to be able to apply for funding that would facilitate my attendance at the largest arts education conference in the country, The National Guild for Community Arts Education. Neither my organization nor myself had the funds budgeted to cover the expense of registration, hotel, and airfare to Boston. In addition, I was unable to fly there alone due to a medical condition, and I was overwhelmed by the additional cost of purchasing my husband a plane ticket as well. I applied not only to RAL, but also to the Guild’s financial aid program. By pursuing both of these opportunities, I was able to make budget and register for the full conference.
The conference was one of the most memorable experiences I have had so far in my career. To participate in session after session of precisely relevant presentations, listen inspiring keynote speakers, and network with hundreds of education directors was an invaluable learning experience. I felt empowered and confident in my ability to take Malashock Dance’s programming to the next level.
In addition to obtaining resources, inspiration, and information that would help propel my own programs to new heights, I discovered something quite unexpected. I suddenly felt like I was a part of a huge community of arts educators and program facilitators who shared my passions, interests, challenges and frustrations. I don’t think I realized that I felt isolated until I had the experience of feeling completely connected. The conference gave me a sense of pride in the fact that I am part of something big; something that will change the face of education and change the lives of youth in our country. I came back loving my job more than when I left, which I didn’t think was possible.
Education Director, Malashock Dance