We are excited to share with you our interview with Mrs. Jillian Bickley, Chosen Dance Academy’s Ballet Director. Mrs. Jillian has been with CDA from day one not only as a teacher but as part of the family. Growing up in dance, Mrs. Jillian took every style of dance possible; ballet, pointe, partnering, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, gymnastics, and clogging. In high school, Mrs. Jillian shifted her focus to classical ballet and attended the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities year-round program in Greenville, SC. Mrs. Jillian attended the University of South Carolina where she holds a degree in Early Childhood Education as well as a Masters degree in Literacy. With over 18 years of classroom experience, Mrs. Jillian is a born teacher and we love seeing her impart her exceptional knowledge of classical ballet, pointe, and partnering with our students. Ballet is the foundation of all dance forms and we feel privileged to have such an exceptional ballet teacher on our staff! Take a moment to read our interview with Mrs. Jillian below. We are sure you will love her as much as we do!
Teacher Interview With Mrs. Jillian Bickley
How old where you when you took your first dancing steps?
5 years old
How long have you been dancing?
I have been dancing for 27 years!
What is your favorite style of dance?
Ballet and Pointe (of course) as well as Lyrical!
Tell us about a dance memory that stands out for you.
Dancing was such a fun and positive journey for me throughout the years that I do not have one specific memory that stands out. But I will say, I couldn’t imagine my life any differently!
As a child, what do you feel was the most important lesson you learned in the classroom?
Patience, perseverance, goal setting and working hard to achieve success
Why did you start teaching dance?
I love working with children and helping them to grow in their skills. There is something truly fulfilling about sharing your passion with a younger generation and watching them fall in love with it as well. I especially love being there to help them work through something particularly struggling and then celebrate with them when the light bulb clicks and they understand how to fully apply and perform it on stage.
What do you hope your students take away from your classroom and apply to their daily lives?
I hope students learn the importance of perseverance in my classroom. In today’s high-tech, high-energy world it’s very easy to get caught up in the “I need it now” syndrome and not stick with things when they get hard. Perseverance is a life skill needed to succeed later in life and when children are taught to work hard for something and not give up when the going is tough they will have more success later in life. This is one of many wonderful life lessons taught through dance as students cannot achieve success faster than their body or work ethic will allow. I hope that I am able to help encourage a sense of perseverance in my classroom that motivates students to not get discouraged when they face obstacles but rather embrace them and push forward.
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
I don’t feel like there is a really one question I wish they’d ask, however I do wish students would focus on the small details sooner than later. Often I feel students don’t feel challenged enough at the beginning stages of ballet. They want to learn harder tricks and continue moving up, but what they don’t realize is how essential the simplest parts of ballet are to being successful with the harder stuff. If students could appreciate the “easy stuff” and really focus on and perfect their arms, posture, ankle alignment, tendu and plie then when they finally get to the harder turns and leaps they will find less frustration and greater success as their body is truly ready to tackle these steps.
In your opinion, what makes dance such a great activity and art form?
It provides students with exercise to keep the body strong and fit, which is so important in today’s world as kids are not as active as they use to be.
It provides team building skills as students are learning how to work together for a common goal.
It provides an outlet for expressing oneself.
It builds confidence and encourages a positive self-image.
It provides students with essential life skills – hard work ethic, perseverance, being responsible (for arriving to class, for correct clothes, hair, and shoes, etc), collaborating and working on a team, etc.
What are you passionate about outside dance?
Outside of dance I love to spend time with my family playing games. I love to travel, read books, and research topics that are interesting to me. I’m very passionate about education and teaching. I love to take classes to further my learning as I believe it’s important to always be a life long learner!
Come Dance With Us: Thank you for stopping in! We can’t wait to show you what we have to offer at Chosen Dance Academy. Dancing is our passion and we would love to share that passion with your child. We are proud to be offering excellence in dance education by promoting quality instruction in a fun & memorable environment. Since 2004, our family owned business has created exceptional dance classes for students in Lexington, South Carolina and the surrounding areas. We are dedicated to offering a safe and creative environment for your child to learn and grow. Take a minute to see what we have to offer. To register for classes, click here. And if you have any questions, our friendly staff would love to help. We can’t wait to see you dancing soon!
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