January’s Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Joleen

Our resident hip-hop queen, Ms. Joleen, has been dancing since the age of 4. In 2013, she joined our Academy faculty to lead Hip Hop classes and also has 3 dancing children. Now, in her 5th year of teaching, she is expanding instruction to include offerings in breakdancing and street styles of hip-hop.

Joleen is a very active volunteer within the dance community and is currently the president of Black Hills Dance Theatre. She has Co-Chaired several Nutcrackers and touring companies, such as River North Chicago, TU, Mark Morris Dance Group and the upcoming 2018 Keigwin. Because of her generous donation of time and talent, many of our community’s young dancing students have been blessed with the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s leading professionals right here at home!

When asked what she loves most about teaching, Joleen shares, “There are a couple things I love. One is seeing the look on a student’s face when they mastered a move. They are so proud of themselves and so am I. Second, I love connecting one-on-one with each student. Just recently, we did an exercise where we had to react to another person’s movement. For example, I pretended to give a high five really hard and they spring their hand back like I really touched it. This exercise made us all laugh. Each student has something very special about them, and I feel privileged when they share it with me.”

One of her favorite production memories was hugging her daughters at the end of their performance last year. “We were all crying because we knew it was the end of a beautiful chapter and the beginning of a new adventure for my daughter who’s heading off to college.”

Joleen and her husband also own Vanway Trophy and Award and when Joleen’s not busy working or dancing, she loves going to the movies (making this year’s At the Movies production perfect for her!). She also loves being with her family, because she says she has “pretty amazing kids.” We couldn’t agree more, they are every bit as awesome as their mom 🙂