This 88-Year-Old Ballet Teacher Has Life Lessons for Us All

Rozann, chipper as always. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Sometimes a little video comes along that manages to cheer you on a dreary Wednesday, inspire you to be better and give you all the good feels. Meet Sheila Rozann, an 88-year-old ballet teacher for the National Dance Institute, New Mexico, who's been teaching for more than 66 years (!). She gives great advice on everything from why ballet is so pleasing to the eye to how a teacher can pick out a student destined for greatness. But my favorite jewel of wisdom that she offers is simple, and one that we often hear from the teachers we feature in DT: Dance is something that molds kids into good people, regardless of whether they go on to pursue careers in the field.


"You think I'm teaching ballet," says Rozann, "But really, I'm teaching the art of living."

Rozann has had quite a career. She founded the Rozann-Zimmerman Ballet Center in Los Angeles, CA, and headed it for 35 years. Some of her former students went on to star-studded careers—Heather Watts and Zippora Karz, New York City Ballet; Ariana Lallone, Pacific Northwest Ballet. Balanchine himself was so taken with Rozann's teaching style that he invited her to take part in his Ford Foundation-sponsored teaching seminars at the School of American Ballet.

Chances are, you've had at least one teacher in your life who embodied Rozann's spirit, optimism and dedication. Wouldn't it feel great to give them the recognition they no doubt deserve? You should nominate your favorite teachers for a Dance Teacher Award! The process is simple, we promise. Just click here and fill out the online form. Nominations are due March 1, so you don't have much time—and spread the word, too.

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