When I was young, I had a difficult time getting my body to move in an integrated way. My mother said I used to trip over the patterns in a carpet! She signed me up for dance classes when I was four years old, to help me to develop balance, strength, and coordination. This wonderful opportunity was my introduction to the art form of dance. I found that I loved to dance; it gave me self-confidence and a voice to express myself, and it led me to a lifelong career.
I grew up in Cincinnati, went to Denison University, and then received my MFA degree in Dance from the University of Michigan. I had a professional performing career in contemporary dance and ballet for twelve years, which took me from Michigan (Harbinger Dance Company), to Venezuela (Macrodanza), Guatemala (Ballet Nacional de Guatemala) and finally back to Cincinnati (Contemporary Dance Theater). I have taught in colleges, conservatories, studios, and public and private schools. Eight years aago, I co-founded a dance program called Healing Through Movement at a safe shelter for trafficked women.
I love teaching dance to children and adults. I have taught contemporary dance and ballet, as well as creative movement for young children. I've taught students who are having their first dance experience at three years old, I have taught dance to senior adults in wheelchairs, and every age in between.
My first picture book, From A to Z with Energy!, 26 Ways to Move and Play, illustrated by Gareth Llewhellin, was published by Free Spirit Press in 2019. This book is designed for children ages 3 to 6, and is a raucous romp through the alphabet. For the adults reading along, it includes 10 movement activities to enrich the reading experience. The book also has a brief explanation of the benefits of movement, particularly focusing on the social-emotional component. This book was recognized as a Distinguished Favorite winner in the 2022 NYC Big Book Awards, and is Story-Monsters Approved. Beastie Jamboree (Young Dragons Press) released in April, 2023, and Tap and Rap, Move and Groove, (Free Spirit Publishing) comes out in October, 2023.
I have written two books for teachers: Dance, Turn, Hop, Learn! Enriching Movement Activities for Preschoolers (Redleaf Press, 2006) and One, Two, What Can I Do? Dance and Music for the Whole Day (Redleaf Press 2011). The books are targeted to teachers and caregivers, and contain hundreds of playful ideas for introducing movement activities into the school curriculum and into the daily lives of young children.
I have had several pieces published in Highlights magazines, including Highlights, Highlights Hello and Highlights High Five, and one in Cricket Babybug. Other publications include articles in Young Children (a NAEYC magazine), Early Childhood News, Teaching Young Children, Journal of Dance Education, and Dance Education in Practice. I was named Overall Honorable Mention in the 2023 ValentinyWriting Contest, a finalist in the children's book category at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) Conference contest in September, 2018, and was also a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill's 2018 Holiday Contest.
I have three children, six grandchildren, and a little doggie named Buster. In addition to dancing and writing, I love to walk, swim, sew and quilt, and play the piano.
My dance journey, from training to performing, to teaching children and adults, and to appreciating all forms of dance, has led me to develop an understanding of the importance of movement in our lives. I enjoy sharing my passion for dance by visiting schools and libraries, teaching, writing, and offering movement workshops to early childhood professionals all around the country. I feel strongly that dance, and the other arts, are not 'extras;' they are essential and transformational forces in our lives.