Teaching Artist – Dance In America

Nateli headshot

This month we feature our newest teaching artist Nateli Ruiz.  Nateli, a native of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, recently came on board to teach our 10-week Dance in America residency at Eucalyptus Elementary School in Hawthorne, CA.

Nateli has been dancing since she was four years old, starting at Music in Motion and at the age of five, continuing her training at the Pointe Dance Academy. She graduated from Jacksonville University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance.Professionally she has had the opportunity to work with American Ballet Theatre II, David Parsons, Jennifer Muller and Rosero Mccoy, Debbie Allen and Disney Parks, where she danced with Mariah Carey.  A pivotal moment in Nateli’s career was when she made her debut in her first film,“Bessie,” featuring the talented actress/icon Queen Latifah.

Nateli continues to share the skills she’s learned in dance, teaching a variety ofstyles at studios around the country and spreading her profound love and passion for dance.

Nateli on point

Dance in America is the third program in the Dream A World residency progression. It is a program for second graders and follows Secrets of the Heart and One World Drum Circles.

The residency starts with lessons in classic dance technique and warm up exercises and progresses to exploring elements of multiple dance styles. Dance history exposes students to ballet, modern dance and tap and they discover how these dance forms influence other styles.

Tap classStudents learn that dance can be performed solo, with partners and in groups and that dance may be choreographed, freestyle or a combination of both. We explore tap dance, jazz, Latin dance styles and popular American dances from the 1960’s such as the twist and the watusi. Children learn about the history of dance through the Motown and Disco eras, and visit dance styles – popping, locking and hiphop. By connecting each dance style to its historical values and cultural connections, our teaching artist gives children context for how dance is a reflection of the place and time in which people live. When children leave this class they are inspired and ready to learn. Check out this video to see what inspiration looks like!


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