Finding a male dance instructor who isn't booked solid can be a challenge, which is why a New York City dance educator was inspired to start a network of male dance professionals in 2012. Since then, he's tripled his roster of teachers and is actively hiring.
Jason Warley (Dance Teacher 2014) is the founder of Man in Motion. When a studio needs a part- or full-time instructor, a substitute teacher, a private coach or a choreographer, Warley, together with his assistant Linda Pampinella, connect them with one of 75 instructors. The service also provides in-studio competitions, master class series and one-day "Dance in New York City" intensives. "There is nothing like looking out into the studio and seeing the smiling faces of kids doing what they love," Warley says. "When I see that and I know that Man in Motion creates that moment, it is total fulfillment."
Warley credits his post-high school dance training at The Ailey School with teaching him how to dance with power and strength. It was the first time he was visually observed and physically corrected by male instructors. Man in Motion aims to give that valuable experience to dancers of all genders much sooner in life, and is the reason why Samantha A. Zaleski is a client. The owner of Essential Elements Dance Studio in Hazlet, New Jersey, didn't get her first experience of learning from a male instructor until she was in college. She wants to give her dancers an earlier opportunity, so she hires guest teachers and hosts master classes for male students to assist with recruitment and retention.
Kevin Raponey, currently a swing in Rock of Ages, is proud to be on the Man in Motion roster: "There is truly nothing else like it. Jason has created a beautiful connection with hundreds of dance studios around the world."
One of Warley's newest endeavors is to create concept dance videos that feature topics that young male students can relate to. "This Is Me," for example, showcases five boys among a cast of about 30 dancers as they journey toward self-acceptance. Twelve-year-old Jonathan Ronen of Robbinsville, NJ, is one of the featured dancers. His mom says that being part of the video increased his confidence as a dancer and as a person.
This Is Me | Man In Motion | @maninmotionnyc www.youtube.com
Jonathan first became a Man in Motion client three years ago after he won a "Dance in New York City" scholarship. He takes private lessons and intensives, and enjoys the challenge and camaraderie of dancing with other guys. "I always feel like I am dancing with friends even if I don't know them," he says. "Actually, I have made good friends that I now meet in different events and it is awesome to see them again."