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.

Teachers Trending
Marcus Ingram, courtesy Ingram

"Water breaks are not Instagram breaks."

That's a cardinal rule at Central Virginia Dance Academy, and it applies even to the studio's much beloved social media stars.

For more than a decade, CVDA has been the home studio of Kennedy George and Ava Holloway, the 14-year-old dancers who became Instagram sensations after posing on the pedestal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee Monument. Clad in black leotards and tutus, they raise their fists aloft to depict a global push for racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.