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2018 Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year Contest

Vote for the dance instructor you think should be named the 2018 Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year!

Voting runs Nov. 15-29, 2018

Bonita's School of Ballet

Center Stage Dance Studio- Owner Crystal Sizemore

Crimson Academy for the Performing Arts

Dance Amore

Dance etc

Dance on Dance Center

Diamond Dance Works

Dixon's Dance Academy

Elite Performing Arts

Encore Dance Theatre

Gateway Dance Conservatory

Inspired 2 dance performing arts center

Julie's Fancy Feet Dance Academy

LA Petite school of dance

Lil Jammaz Hip Hop Company

Limelight Dance Center

Michelle's Academy of dance and performing arts

Miss Maria's School of Dance

NBC Dance

Pocono Academy of Dance

Project dance company

Riverwalk Youth Ballet

Russells Dance and Baton Studio

SBCSC

Star Performance Dance Academy

Stars of grace

Studio Life Performing Arr

THR!VE

Talent Factory Arts and Dance

The 716 Dance Lab.

The Dance Factory

The Lotus Studio

The Wilson County School of Ballet

Turning Point Dance Center

Western Nevada Performing Arts Center

Bonita's School of Ballet

10-22-18

Monroe, NC

I would like to nominate my daughters' dance teacher for the Dance Instructor of the Year award for 2018. This is such an amazing opportunity, and I cannot think of a better person to nominate than Bonita Simpson. Bonita Simpson is more than a ballet teacher to my two daughters who have been dancing with her for 8 years. She is their cheerleader, encourager and mentor. She cares deeply about my girls and all the dancers in the school. I definitely believe that she met the criteria of Service, Integrity and Quality. She has such a heart of service to her community, she maintains a high level integrity in her work and the technical caliber of her dancers are incomparable (quality). Service: She is a pioneer in the promotion of arts education in Union County in North Carolina where it is lacking. She mentors her dance students (both boys and girls) whom she teaches by encouraging them to achieve their full potentials. She cares about her students by reaching out to students who are struggling with self-esteems, family and emotional issues. Besides teaching ballet to students who could afford it, she also started the Dance Chance program in her ballet studio to help bring ballet to an underserved school in the area so that these children can be empowered from their impoverished environment to have physical, emotional and intellectual growth. She throws the Dance Chance children a Christmas party so that these children could experience the joy of receiving something special during Christmas. Integrity: Besides being a good role model for her dancers and her community, Bonita maintains a high integrity in her work ethics and performances. The music and costumes in the annual dance recitals are highly family friendly. Quality: Bonita's dancers are well trained in technical competence, and her quality of training they received is unparalleled in the region. The annual Nutcracker (in its 26th production this year), spring productions and annual recitals are one of the best in the area. Patrons to her production are always treated to a delightful experience with beautiful backdrops, graceful dancers and highly appropriate music with each production. Bonita Simpson is making an impact, and has been making an impact in many dancers' lives for the past 20 years, many of whom had gone on and become professional ballet dancers and other professions. Her impact on her students’ lives do not end when they leave the studio, but it reverberates for many years after that.
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Center Stage Dance Studio- Owner Crystal Sizemore

12/08/2017

Enterprise, Al

It’s Friday night.... she could be in her warm house spending time with her family. She could be on a date night with her husband. She could be anywhere else but she’s not. She’s in the studio, her own kids in tow, working with her students. She’s teaching them dedication. She’s teaching them hard work. She’s teaching them responsibility. She’s teaching them commitment to what you love. They look up to her and love her so much. She’s way more than a dance instructor to them! ??
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Crimson Academy for the Performing Arts

2/26/2017

Saint Clair, PA

Through the art of dance, Miss Leandra Maley has helped our girls through social child hurdles. She teaches them strength, confidence, and self esteem all through the beauty of dance. Our girls have been with Miss Leandra since they were 3 and are still pursuing the art of dance with much excitement and love. To that, we owe much gratitude. Miss Leandra and her team of visionaries, gave back to our community by restoring an old abandoned church, into what is now our new beautiful Dance Home! Thank you Miss Leandra for sharing your love of dance & your dream of Crimson Academy for the Performing Arts with our community. Pictured is Miss Leandra passing down her passion of dance to Ella.
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Dance Amore

11-20-17

Enfield, CT

This is when Dance Amore allowed our team to integrate with them. We have made such tight bonds with each other and now are the best of friends. Without Dance Amore a lot of us would have been split up or without a dance studio at all. The dance director, Deb Shligersky (all the way to the left in the brown shirt) deserves this more than anything. She knows how much dance can change lives and she did that for so many of us. I wanted to share the picture of us all meeting and joining the dance studio because it was one of the best days of my life, considering without it I wouldn’t have a dance studio.
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Dance etc

June 3018

Milford ohio

This picture was taken at our annual awards dinner. Ms. Julie Marks is an amazing instructor and mentor to all of our girls. She danced at Dance Etc. since she was 3, graduated college and is now our competition team director, teacher and choreographs all of her routines. Her dedication, commitment and the way she loves and respects our dancers is such a blessing. Dance Etc is so lucky to have her!!
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Dance on Dance Center

10-15-18

Hudson, MA

Lori Beccia-Gorgone goes above and beyond for her students, making sure everyone is happy and enjoying themselves to the fullest. To Miss. Lori dance isn't about being the best dancer, its about loving what you do and being able to do it in a safe and positive environment. Her studio is a place where dancers go to feel good about themselves, make memories, and dance their hearts out!
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Diamond Dance Works

11-3-17

Anthem Arizona

This picture was taken at the annual Veteran’s day parade. The dance instructor Danielle Cicogna makes sure we reach out to our community doing this parade and the annual Down Syndrome fundraiser walk. Danielle Cicogna wants all the students visiting her studio to have fun and enjoy dance. This idea has helped her studio grow from 60 students its first year to over 500 in its fourth year open. She has wonderful instructors who have all graduated from great universities. They come to work "Livin the dream," to teach the students. She loves what she does, and everyone loves her for it.
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Dixon's Dance Academy

10-29-18

Vineland, NJ

I would like to nominate Nancy Dixon of Dixons Dance academy from Vineland New Jersey. Nancy has been the owner of Dixons since 2005. She has a passion for teaching children and adults all forms of dance. Nancy has personally endured many hardships of life . She is a single mother raising two young boys, is also teaching children (online ) in China and has a full time job at a pre school. Throughout all of this she manages to teach all her classes with passion and excitement !! Her students love her and eagerly come to classes full of excitement. A few of her students have started out being so quiet, not knowing how to dance, but through her way of teaching that dance is an expression of who you are they have become awesome dancers and confident individuals. She shares her passion and teaches that being a dancer is not what you do it is who you are !
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Elite Performing Arts

10-16-18

Jefferson City, MO

Ms. Tiffany Pleus is an inspiration to all at Elite Performing Arts. For years, she has inspired every age level dancer from first year dancers to seasoned veterans. Dancers come to work and strive to improve because Ms. Tiffany inspires them to want to.

There isn't a single dancer who is too inexperienced or unskilled that doesn’t get Ms. Tiffany’s attention. There isn't a single dancer who is so advanced or so skilled to not need Ms. Tiffany’s coaching and counsel.

Perhaps what matters most, however, isn't how Ms. Tiffany inspires our dancers, but how she inspires entire families. She knows that dance parents are just as important to the success of the studio and the team, and she never runs out of patience for even the most novice parents and is always direct and honest with every parent and is respected by all.

Ms. Tiffany is worthy of any dance instructor of the year award for what she has accomplished this past year.

Our studio faced the most adversity we have ever seen in the through the loss of many team members to a new studio opened by another long time instructor. Ms. Tiffany inspired us all as she ushered in new dancers and new instructors leading our dance family to perhaps the most exciting competition season many of us had ever been a part of.

On top of all she does as dance instructor, parent diplomat, costume designer, choreographer, artistic director and much more, it has been an even greater pleasure to witness Ms. Tiffany balance all of that with an even more important job as a mother as she has brought two amazing little boys into our dance family in recent years and is now bringing her talents of inspiration into their lives without ever missing single beat (or eight count) as the instructor and mentor to the parents and dancers at Elite Performing Arts has come to know!

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Encore Dance Theatre

10-31-18

Sunrise, Florida

Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in you for you to believe in yourself and Ms. Marlee Ramirez-Santana is that dance teacher. Ms. Marlee started dancing at the age of 2.5 and hasn’t left the studio since! You can find her in the studio any day that ends in “Y”. Weekdays, weekends, late at night or bright and early…Ms. Marlee’s dedication to inspire and uplift dancers can be seen day-in and day-out. Her enthusiasm and excitement for dance is contagious and her friendly demeanor and positivity radiate to her students from the moment they walk through the door. If you need someone to turn your kid’s frown upside down, she’s your girl! She has the ability to make anyone smile, even a two year old who can’t seem to contain her tears because she was just woken up from a nap, forced in a leotard and forgot her favorite teddy bear stands no chance to the charms of Ms. Marlee! Her warmness radiates far and wide and is felt by all who cross her path. This is a dance teacher who takes her skills to another level far above and beyond just perfecting the art of dance. She is one who genuinely cares about her students and their families. She cares about how their day went, what’s upsetting them today, what made them smile today, what’s holding you back from making that leap, what has you troubled, what makes you happy and what can she do to help you navigate through it all. She is invested in the lives of her students. She takes the time to get to know both her students AND their families. Through her caring nature, positive attitude, open mind, welcoming spirit, dedication and dance talents, Ms. Marlee makes her students believe in themselves. This trait is something we need more of and I believe deserves all the recognition we can give it. To have a teacher who will notice if someone hasn’t been to class in a while and who will take action to address and correct/help the situation is someone everyone needs in their lives. To have someone as talented as Ms. Marlee is in all dance forms (ballet, tap, musical theatre, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, AND hip hop—YES, SHE TEACHES THEM ALL!!), dedicated to the art and invested in the lives of her students is a rarity. Her ability to encourage kids, inspire dancers, help push past self-imposed limits and build character all while simultaneously shaping extraordinary and strong dancers is certainly worth nominating!
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Gateway Dance Conservatory

10 25 18

St. Louis, MO

Ms. Jennifer Story operates a not for profit dance studio to help everyone who has a desire to dance, regardless of income. She is so passionate about sharing dance. She pours it into her students, and helps each one grow every class, regardless of level. This will be my 10th year dancing, but my first year at GDC. I've improved and learned SO MUCH in the past month, compared to what I've learned the past 9 years. Last year, I could barely get onto my pointe shoes. This year, I'm doing double pirroutes on pointe. Our Pacific location is in need of new flooring. I'm nominating Ms. Jennifer and GDC as a way to give back to her some of what she has given so many others.
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Inspired 2 dance performing arts center

10/31/2018

Houma louisiana

Mrs Ketti Voisin deserves to be the dance teacher of the year because she is the best dance teacher ever. She is so caring and talented. She isn't only our dancer teacher, Mrs. Ketti is our friend and our mentor. Us girls look up to her, we wanna be at least half of the dance teacher and person that she is. Mrs. Ketti motivates us to be the best that we can be. She encourages us to follow our dreams and she always says "nothing is impossible". Mrs. Ketti is so passionate about dance, and it makes us realize that it's ok to be passionate about something. She does anything and everything she can to make us the best dancers that we could be. She is always there for us, we know we can always count on her for anything and she'll be there. Mrs. Ketti is the strongest person we know. She always says "you can do anything if you put your mind to it." She always has a positive attitude and it makes us realize we can do anything as long as we stay positive. We love you Mrs. Ketti. Thank you for being the best dance teacher anyone could ask for!
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Julie's Fancy Feet Dance Academy

06/18

York, SC

I am nominating Julie Martin from Julie's Fancy Feet Dance Academy in York, SC for the 2018 Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year. While Julie teaches all of students to dance beautifully and to be the best version of yourself that you can be! Everyone is important and special to Julie, from the most inexperienced dancer to the most advanced dancer. She teaches all of her dancers to technically dance properly, how to be a great teammate and friend and to always be humble and kind. She definitely teaches our dancers the dance skills that they need but also life lessons and so much more! She is there for each of her students, no matter what they are going through. The studio has 2 annual recitals and participates at various local festival and parades. Julie, the studio and dancers have received many national titles and the ADCC studio of the year! Julie and the studio volunteer in many different ways in our community. Our studio had participated in an annual coat drive, feeding needy families in Thanksgiving, adopting families for Christmas, a toy drive for a organized by a local child at a nearby hospital, fundraisers and participate at Relay for Life and more! She has given scholarships for those who are going through hard times so regardless of the situation the dancers family is going through, the child can have some normalcy and participate in something they love. I hope you do consider choosing Julie Martin for you Dance Instructor of the Year...I can not think of anyone more deserving!
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LA Petite school of dance

September 22

Louisville, KY

Miss Heather Fortier always brings fun and happiness to everyone’s face. La Petite is a great studio that creates a space for children to dance and wipe off the rest of the day if only for a minute.
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Lil Jammaz Hip Hop Company

05/2018

Morgantown, WV

Miss Corinthia Rilko with some of her girls after winning the Studio of Excellence Award at one of their competitions! I am nominating Miss Corinn because she goes above and beyond what any dance instructor/coach is expected to do. She loves and treats all the kids like they were her own! She teaches them discipline while having fun at the same time. She is an awesome role model and all the kids look up to her. She goes to LA for extra training and brings back to the studio things she learns. She has been in music videos and the kiddos love looking for her in them. Miss Corinn is always looking for ways to give back to the community. We recently had a food drive at our trunk or treat event. The dance studio participates in Operation Christmas Child every year. Miss Corinn, without a doubt, deserves this recognition for all she does and gives back!
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Limelight Dance Center

Dec. 2017

Ware, Mass.

Ariel Lask, the owner and dance instructor at Limelight, is incredible and it shows when she gives back in complete year scholarships for kids that couldn't otherwise take dance. This year she gave out sick scholarships last year was my first year of dance with her and she gave me one and I continue to dance with her she cares and gives way above and beyond
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Michelle's Academy of dance and performing arts

2018

Hartland Michigan

My daughter Josie won top score due to the choreography and love that she received from her teacher Miss Michelle Marzejon! Michelle has been so much more then a dance teacher to both my children. She has been my sons angel here on earth, and I am a sinner on model for my little girl!
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Miss Maria's School of Dance

7-31

Watertown, MA

I'd like to nominate Miss Maria Zullo of Miss Maria’s School of Dance in Watertown, MA for National Dance Instructor of the Year.

Miss Maria's is a special dance studio because Miss Maria is at its heart. She has an unwavering commitment to her kids, supporting them throughout their years of dance with her and beyond. Maria's focus is always on the kids bringing themselves into the studio and she honors each and everyone of them for exactly who they are.

She expects a lot from the kids, but always manages to balance their hard work with fun and laughter. Maria never loses her focus on the basics, consistently teaching technique and theory, and encouraging her older girls to take on ownership of their own choreography. It is not unusual to watch the kids master a particularly challenging piece of choreography and then end class in a fit of giggles as Miss Maria rewarded their hard work with something silly and fun.

Maria is always giving back to the community, donating money from recital flowers to various charities, participating in town wide celebrations and marching in parades.

Miss Maria has fought through a variety of struggles over the past couple years just to keep her studio open. Maria's reputation in town is outstanding. Her girls always have fun and learn, so her enrollment numbers go up every year. Her landlord wouldn't fix a leaking roof and even if he did, her space had become too small for the number of dancers wanting to take classes with her. Deal after deal for new studio space fell through as one landlord after another told her they didn't believe a dance studio could afford the rent they were asking.

Maria never gave up hope and kept working to find the best space for "her kids." The end of the 2017-18 dance season was especially challenging as Miss Maria finally found studio space, but also found out that the space was unlikely to be ready for her dancers by the time classes resumed in the fall.

While getting the kids through their recitals, she was actively working and reworking her plans to ensure they were the best plans possible for the kids. Ultimately, she realized temporary studio space for the 2018-19 season was a must.

Miss Maria connected with the local Girl Scout council and made a deal for temporary studio space. Despite the challenges inherent in this last minute change, and in the space itself, Miss Maria hasn't missed a step. She has jumped into the studio change with all her heart demonstrating for our kids exactly how to handle a challenge and focus on the positive! The kids are having a great year and continue to learn not only dance, but also life lessons from Miss Maria.

For all of these reasons, Miss Maria deserves to be National Dance Instructor of the Year.

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NBC Dance

1/26/2018

Provo, Utah

Nick Bloxsom-Carter with his students at their ballroom competition, coaching and cheering them on.
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Pocono Academy of Dance

10-16-18

Sciota, PA

Lea Wolfe is a wonderful instructor. She has a great relationship with the kids and pushes them to their own potential. She loves her students and is always striving to make them better. The students all love her, from the little ones to the old ones. She teaches many different classes. One including adult tap, I took that with her and she explains everything so well and makes the class fun. My daughter takes many different classes with her and can’t wait to go to class. Lea is a hard working instructor.

The students love taking acro with her. She used her own money to buy a few small mats and a mini trampoline to help teach her students. She has even brought her own silks to do some classes with the students, which they were so impressed with her skills.

Lea is always happy and ready to help. She is very creative and puts her heart into everything she does. It was a pleasure watching the kids do a touching dance that she dedicated to her grandmother. It made me cry every time. We are very lucky to have a wonderful dance instructor like Lea.

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Project dance company

April 22

Macomb, Ill.

Kimmie and khy after receiving a platinum for her jazz solo. Kimmie Knott is an instructor and co owner of Project Dance Company in Macomb, Illinois. Kimmie is 26 years old and spends most of her free time at the studio to be available to help the girls. She is available for an extra class to work 1:1 on technique or just to be a listening ear when they are having a bad day. If a dancer is physically hurt she helps them with exercises and encourages them to sit out or take it easy. Kimmie picks my daughter and her friend (2nd grade) up from school every Friday so they can be at class. This is a huge help to me and the other parents so we are not having to leave work early. My oldest (14) has a solo class on Monday nights and Kimmie brings her home after so I don’t have to get my youngest out past 9 pm. She does these things for many parents. Kimmie is always patient. She can be stern and set rules but won’t raise her voice or get angry. She is passionate about dance, the studio and loves her students. Anyone who watches Kimmie teach can see it. Kimmie is simply amazing. In Macomb on the weekends, you see most 26 year olds at the bar, not Kimmie. She is at the studio helping her students or spending time with her mom. She has a huge heart. Kimmie’s students love her, they shower her in hugs all the time. She attends their birthday or graduation parties. She encourages the students to always support each other and runs her studio very professionally yet treats us all as a member of her family. There are not enough words to describe how talented, thoughtful and amazing she is.
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Riverwalk Youth Ballet

10-31-18

Jacksonville, N.C.

Feeling the love! Even though our students are only now returning to their public school classrooms, after missing eight weeks of school due to extensive damage following Hurricane Florence, they have been back in the studio at Riverwalk Youth Ballet – their “happy place” -- with Mrs. Alyssa Hudgins, continuing their dance education. Miss Alyssa has made such a difference in the lives of our young dancers by opening a ballet school and taking their dance technique and performance quality to the next level, and equally important, their self-image and self-confidence have soared under her guidance. --------------------------- On a recent Thursday night, our dance studio in downtown Jacksonville, N.C., was busy again, with young dancers learning new variations on pointe and combinations at the barre after several weeks away from the studio during and after Hurricane Florence. Even though our students are only now returning to their public school classrooms, after missing eight weeks of school due to extensive damage to our buildings, they have been back in the studio – their “happy place” -- with Mrs. Alyssa Hudgins, continuing their dance education. Miss Alyssa is a steady influence on our girls, teaching them with professionalism and a focus on ballet technique, and always preparing them for a future of dancing in the real world. We enthusiastically recommend Alyssa Hudgins of Riverwalk Youth Ballet for this award. In our town, there was a need for a professional ballet school, and with seven original students, Miss Alyssa took a leap and opened a school in downtown Jacksonville near Riverwalk Park. Before her contract was dry, her classes were filled, and now in her second year, her studio has grown to over 200 students and she is expanding her studio space this year. In such a short time, she has made such a difference in the lives of our young dancers, taking their dance technique and performance quality to the next level, and as parents, equally important, their self-image and self-confidence have soared under her guidance. She loves our dancers, and she teaches and guides them not only to be the best dancers they can be but also to be kind, loving people. She is an excellent role model. She’s personable, knowledgeable and accessible, and even though her plate is full with her young family -- which includes a sweet boy and girl and her husband, who is a United States Marine – and as she pursues a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Miss Alyssa enthusiastically shares her love of ballet with her students and we are the better for it. Brief caption to go with the photo: Feeling the love! Even though our students are only now returning to their public school classrooms, after missing eight weeks of school due to extensive damage following Hurricane Florence, they have been back in the studio at Riverwalk Youth Ballet – their “happy place” -- with Mrs. Alyssa Hudgins, continuing their dance education. Miss Alyssa has made such a difference in the lives of our young dancers by opening a ballet school and taking their dance technique and performance quality to the next level, and equally important, their self-image and self-confidence have soared under her guidance.
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Russells Dance and Baton Studio

May 2017

Wildwood, NJ

I would like to nominate Elaine Russell for teacher of the year 2018. Russells Dance and Baton Studio is a family owned and operated dance studio for over 20 years in Chester County, PA. Elaine has trained hundreds of students throughout the years and now on her second generation of students. She has opened a 5th location, judges around the country and always finds time for local, hometown events plus a full packed competitive schedule for her twirlers, dancers and acro.
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SBCSC

9-6-18

South Bend, Indiana

The WONDERFUL Mrs. Lori South of Creative Dance N' with the Ruby dance class. Mrs. Lori continuously has patience with my beginner dancer. She not only takes the her time to teach these children through fun activities but also takes the time to get to know them as people. My daughter is always excited to go to dance because of the care Mrs. Lori puts into her work.
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Star Performance Dance Academy

10/1/2018

Duncansville, PA

Danielle Lykens has an anti bullying program at her studio and encourages/promotes self esteem and raising one another up. Promotes being unique and individual. Her dances dance for many charities. See the Facebook page star performance dance academy. A place where it is more than just dance steps but learning how to be a good, healthy person.
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Stars of grace

May 25 2018

Chatsworth, GA

I'd like to nominate dance teacher Mrs. Heather Hardin Englemen. There is nothing that she makes the girls do that she can't do. She spends hours upon hours teaching our girls. She puts dances together that emphasizes the strengths of the dancer. Her kids with her and her missing some of her own kids stuff. So she can be there with the girls. And loves all the dancers like her own children. Mrs. Englemen is pictured at an end of the year recital.
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Studio Life Performing Arr

7/21/18

Fall River, MA

Holli Faria is the director and owner of Studio Life Performing Art in Fall River MA. She loves teaching our kids and treats everyone with respect and kindness. Holli is extremely talented and is surrounded by amazing teachers who help mold our kids into confident, passionate dancers and performers.
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THR!VE

July 2018

Evansville IN

Yvette Walts is on of the best instructors there are. She teaches the kids more than dance. She teaches team work, compassion, honor, working hard for what you love and believe. She is more than a ‘teacher’, she is family!!
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Talent Factory Arts and Dance

10/9/18

Lebanon, Indiana

Mr. Jim Kochert shares his passion for dance and acting with every child in the studio. It is so wonderful to have our family with such a great role model and his family! I don’t believe that my sons would have an interest in dance without Mr. Jim’s encouragement and support. In spite of a full time position at the local hospital, he is in the dance rooms every evening with excitement and energy for all the dancers, from the little tappers to the teens prepping for competitions. He is open and honest with parents about his dancers’ strengths and weaknesses. He is able to lighten the stress of recitals with humorous acts and kind words to the kids.
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The 716 Dance Lab.

10/06/2018

Lancaster, NY

Maria Ruffato goes above and beyond to make sure her dancers get the best instruction possible. Maria is the owner, founder and artistic director for The 716 Dance Lab. We are going into year 2 and she has over 30 Dancers she has the chance to influence. Maria works full time during the day and continues into the evening to fulfill her studio dream. She had been teaching for 15 years. Maria goes above and beyond to make sure her dancers succeed. Not only only in dance, but in school work, and grow into respectable, confident young men and women. In the photo she is pictured with dancers at Lancaster’s Zombieville community event. The studio performed thriller as a flash mob in the village for community entertainment. It was a hit!!!
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The Dance Factory

August 11, 2018

Pocatello & Idaho Falls, Idaho

We would like to nominate Gina Underwood. She is the Owner/Director of The Dance Factory in Pocatello and Idaho Falls, ID. She started her own studio when she was just 18 and has over 25 years of teaching experience with all ages and levels of dance. Gina has dedicated her life to building and growing The Dance Factory while achieving her life-time goal creating Idaho’s most well rounded dancers. Gina specializes in jazz, hip hop, clogging, tap, acro/tumbling and contemporary. She has choreographed numerous routines that have won at many well-known dance conventions and received top scores and awards at several competitions. She has won awards for being the "Best Dance Studio" in Pocatello, and also received an award for "20 under 40." Which is an award for successful people under 40 years old and it only goes to 20 people in the community. Gina is an amazing teacher/dancer/role model, she truly cares about each and every student and their growth and wants all of them to succeed. We feel she is very deserving of the National Dance Instructor of the Year award for all of the time, hard work, and dedication she puts in with each one of her classes and students. So many of the younger girls look up to her and want to be like Gina. We couldn’t be luckier to have Gina as our teacher! We just love her so much!! Gina is on the very far left of the picture (blonde in black). Chubbuck Days parade.
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The Lotus Studio

Aug 23, 2018

Salem, OR

As a Former Gymnast, and a dancer since the age of two, our Instructor Mikalyn Haney is Great with the kids, patient and encouraging and always striving to pull the BEST out of our Kids. Our Mats have been a GREAT asset to our Studio, Our Acro kids Love them they are easy to store, move and travel with. Thank you GreatMats.
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The Wilson County School of Ballet

10-31-18

Floresville, TX

Ms. Diana McCormack has been an amazing dance instructor for both my daughters! We live an hour outside a major city, where normally finding true ballet would be difficult. However, Ms. Diana has brought the fine arts to all our small towns. Thanks to Ms. Diana my daughters have the opportunity to learn classical ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. The students all receive a Fine Arts education. The Wilson County School of Ballet puts on full productions for all the community to attend. The students learn every aspect of what that production takes to put on. It’s not just the dance education that sets Ms. Diana apart. She runs the school with an upper and lower school structure. The lower school is primarily younger students that focus mainly on dancing. But the magic happened for me when my daughter graduated to upper school. In upper school Ms. Diana also focuses on teaching the students life skills. The students learn so much! From basics like hair, make up, and self care, to caring for the world around them. She involves community service and volunteer opportunities into their education. She teaches them confidence and how to confidently speak in public. They learn to be proud of themselves, and how to be proud in helping the community around them. Not every students goal is to become a professional dancer, but she teaches each one to the highest level she can. Ms. Diana has been dancing professionally since she was nine years old. She has taught dance for 17 seasons now. Her school teaches students from two years through adult. She is PBT certified and teaches core strength to her students as well as dance. She is undergoing ABT certification as well. She is always finding new ways to give back to the community around her. From volunteering with animals, to free demo classes, to attending local parades and doing meet and greets all over town. Ms. Diana teaches the students to be conservative, and to respect others as well as themselves. Ms. Diana is always attending new seminars, workshops, and training to make sure her students are receiving the best education possible.
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Turning Point Dance Center

0ct. 25, 2018

Meridian, Texas

Jennifer Lumpkins is amazing and a great dance teacher! I love you Mrs Lumpkins????
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Western Nevada Performing Arts Center

08/29/2018

Carson City, NV

Miss Gina Davis teaching hand and foot placement techniques for the Ballet 2 class. She not only has a heart for dance but for the families that come to learn about dance. She not only teaches dance but inspires others to truly LOVE dance, even the parents who watch their young. She made dance classes for them too. It’s not only the art of dance but the life of dance she teaches. How dance can lift your spirits in life's uncertain times. One beautiful pointed toe at a time!
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Want to honor a dance instructor for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style or humanitarian efforts, etc.? Then nominate him/her for the 4th Annual National Dance Instructor of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. The award, part of Greatmats National Award Series, is designed to recognize dance instructors who have made a difference in the lives of their clients and community through the virtues of service, integrity and quality.

Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series.

How to Nominate:

To nominate the dance instructor for this award, visit https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dance-instructor-of-the-year.php or email the following information to brett@greatmats.com before Nov. 1, 2018. Nominators will not be identified.

  1. Dance Instructor's Name
  2. Name and Location of the Dance Studio (Must be located in the USA)
  3. A brief description of why you are nominating this instructor, including how he/she meets the criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality
  4. A photo and/or video of the Instructor

How the winner is chosen:

  1. Voting will take place at https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dance-instructor-of-the-year.php Nov. 15 through Nov. 29, 2018. The two dance instructors with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will judge the two finalists to determine the winner based on:
    1. Demonstration of Service
    2. Demonstration of Integrity
    3. Demonstration of Quality

Grand Prize

  1. $250 in Greatmats Products (or $150 Cash Option) for the studio
  2. Instructor/studio profile to be released with the announcement of the winner on Dec. 14, 2018.
  3. National Dance Instructor of the Year Certificate

More than 6,900 votes have been cast over the first 3 years of the contest, which is part of Greatmats Annual National Award Series. The Greatmats Award Series is designed to recognize instructors, trainers and coaches, who have had a positive impact in their communities and the lives of their students.

Voting Instructions:

Visit https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dance-instructor-of-the-year.php during the voting period to vote for this year's National Dance Instructor of the Year. Click the vote button next to the photo of the Dance Instructor you'd like to win. Feel free to share the ballot with friends and family and encourage them to vote. The two dance instructors with the most votes will be named finalists. From that point, Greatmats will choose the winner (scroll down to see prizes) based on demonstration of service, integrity and quality.

Greatmats is a national dance flooring leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.

View all of Greatmats' dance flooring at http://www.greatmats.com/dance-flooring.php

All media submissions, including text, photos and videos become property of Greatmats.

Read about previous winners of the award:

2015 National Dance Instructor of the Year - Rosanne Vavasis

2016 National Dance Instructor of the Year - John Culbertson

2017 National Dance Instructors of the Year - Heidi Sulminski & Heather Gerardi