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2019 Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year Contest

Vote for the dance instructor you think should be named the 2019 Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year!

Winner to be announced Dec. 13, 2019

3D Dance

Adrenaline Dance of York

Adrenaline Dance of York

Adrenaline Dance of York

Adrenaline Dance of York

Adrenaline dance of York

Aspen Santa Fe ballet

Burlingame Studios of Dance

Cactus dance

Dance Amore Performing Arts

Dance Elite

Desert West Dance

Devine Performing Arts and Ballet 314

Eim dance company

In Sync Center of the Arts

Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts

Melinas Dancing Garden

Mitchell Dance Company

North Central Ballet

Richmond Dance Center

Roots Dance Academy

Sidney Dance Company

Stardom Dance Academy

Studio D Dance Center

The Studio on Fifth

The spot dance studio

Tip Tap Toe Performing Arts

Twirl Time Studio

Utah Dance Academy

3D Dance

March 2019

Northampton, Pennsylvania

Miss Danielle O'Brien goes out of her way to make everything special for everyone. She is the Best.
933 Votes

Adrenaline Dance of York

3/2/19

York, PA

Odin Jones is a very talented dancer and choreographer. He is so much fun and he always knows how to put a smile on someones face. Odin has been choreographing for Adrenaline Dance of York since he was 18. He is now 21 and in the past 3 years he has improved as both a dancer and a choreographer. Odin is so supportive of his dancers. When they come off of the stage at competitions he's always the first to give them a great big hug and high fives. You can hear him in the crowd cheering them on and they dance their heart out. Even in practice Odin is always open to go over choreography and break things down. He listens to what the dancers say and, if it is a question, then he tries his best to answer. Odin is a very impressive dancer and he is becoming a very incredible choreographer. Odin is not only a good dancer and choreographer but also a very good friend outside of the dance studio.
9 Votes

Adrenaline Dance of York

March 22, 2018

York, Pennsylvania

Kait Filipelli is always there as a mom-like instructor. Her tap skills and good humor always wow the crowd. Last season my sapphire tap team even managed to win a highest scoring sapphire routine award at showbiz! She is trained in many other areas like ballet and musical theatre as well. She not only has great dance lessons, but also great life lessons. There has not been one season where her work went unrecognized!
7 Votes

Adrenaline Dance of York

March 26, 2019

Pennsylvania

Bethany VanSickle is a very talented dancer as well as a very talented teacher. She carries over her talent of dance to us every week in class. Through ballet, modern, improv, and anything else we learn tons of new, fun steps each week. Some teachers you find don't dance with you but Bethany always is showing us what to do at 110%. Each class we build strength and technique through her excellent tips and tricks. She also likes to give us a challenge, whether it's brisk frappes or bendy back tricks. Bethany is an overall amazing teacher, dancer, and person!
17 Votes

Adrenaline Dance of York

August 17, 2019

York, PA

Overall, Alice Mount is an exceptionally amazing dance instructor. When she's not teaching, she's organizing costumes and events, scheduling practices, and making more dances. Whenever something needs done, Alice is sure to help. She gives everyone in the studio this kind of attention as soon as they arrive. Not only has she helped numerous dancers improve their technique, but she has greatly improved everybody's self confidence. She encourages everyone to be outgoing and try new things. Alice is definitely an amazing role model for me, and many other people.
4 Votes

Adrenaline dance of York

10/18/2019

York, PA

Hunter McCadden is such a fun-loving choreographer. Whenever you walk into class she always has a smile on her face no matter how long of a day it has been. She has such a love and passion for dancing and teaching with her students, she connects with her students whenever we are in class. If you have a problem even outside of dance or whatever sport you can come to her and she is always so supportive of all the dancer and helps everyone that needs it. Hunter has been dancing for such a long time ever since she was a kid. She has been professionally teaching recreational and competitive dance for 7 years. Hunter is such a sweet teacher and will always be supportive even if you think you are not doing well she will always boost your self-esteem and confidence in yourself. Hunter teaches everything from contemporary to ballet to acro and is so amazing at what she does and her chores are over the moon. Hunter is an amazing human being and an even more amazing dance teacher, role model and overall a good person to look up to.
7 Votes

Aspen Santa Fe ballet

2019

Aspen Colorado

Eric Chase is one of the best dance teachers I have worked with. I took class with him for over 3 years, and I have learned so much. Any of his students would agree that he only does what's best for us. He takes our input and uses it to an advantage to make us better. We can't thank him enough for all that's he's given us. I took ballet, Jazz, and pointe class from him. He not only was teaching us dance but how to be a better person. We have all learned at least a few life lessons from him. None of us would be the dancers we are without him. I remember one year when I was performing the nutcracker and I got so nervous before the show that he agreed to go sit backstage with me and tell me when to go. I remember him sitting back stage with me until I went on, and when anyone came off stage he was there with a smile to tell them good job. He put aside the other things he needed to do to to make sure we were prepared and on stage at the right time. None of his students could ever say one bad thing about him. He has given us many amazing opportunities. He always has such a positive attitude in and out of class. Eric gives 110% every second of everyday. I could never ask for a better teacher and friend.
2 Votes

Burlingame Studios of Dance

2013

Hermitage, TN

Michelle Burlingame is not just an amazing dance instructor. She is an AMAZING person. She is a full time high school dance teacher, and she runs her own studio, teaching ages 3 through adult. She puts on two high school productions, a studio production and a recital every year. She has her own dance company MoMovement as well. Apart from teaching, she is a friend, a mentor, an inspiration for so many. She is always there for anyone who needs her. She's always willing to help wherever she can. She makes dance possible for those who otherwise couldn't participate. She is fair to all dancers. She is almost superhuman it seems sometimes, and she does an incredible job at it. She's genuine and she's humble. She absolutely deserves recognition. She'd never seek it on her own. Of all the great dance instructors everywhere, she stands out because her love and care for everyone overflows into her teaching.
4147 Votes

Cactus dance

Dec 6 2018

Glendale, AZ

Katie Wilson the best instructor/ person that I've ever met. She truly cares about all her students.
3 Votes

Dance Amore Performing Arts

July 2019

Nationals

Sharon Whalen is such a special person. She creates a fun learning atmosphere for everyone involved. She puts the dancers needs above her own, coming in extra or working longer nights to make the dances perfect. She spends so much time carefully choreographing dances so they play to her dancers strengths. Sharon wants the best for her students and if that means being there a little later to go over certain things or just be someone to vent to, she'll do it in a heart beat. She cares about the technical aspect of dance and teaches it in such a way that is fun. Sharon pushes her dancers to become the best versions of themselves. Sharon does a lot for her team and these were just a few. She is one incredible, deserving human. I know I couldn't imagine my life without her in it. Please vote for her.
3 Votes

Dance Elite

February 2, 2019

3111 Easy Street, Kokomo, IN 46901

The owner of Dance Elite, Miss Kari Neuhauser, is not only a wonderful dance teacher, but also a teacher of life skills. She teaches her students how to work with others and use their imagination. As one of her students, I feel confident in knowing that I can go to her with anything - even if it's not dance related - and she would help me. Miss Kari makes a point to know more about someone's personal life in order to connect with them on a different level. Watching her teach the younger kids, I can't even understand how much patience she has. Miss Kari also has the ability to take control over the room & make the students want to listen. She has given her students many opportunities to become a leader, such as assistant teaching. Miss Kari is 100% the best.
3 Votes

Desert West Dance

10/2019

Goodyear, AZ

Miss Vicki Lopez honors the individuality of each of her students and identifies the way they best learn. She thrives on creating ways to make learning the important fundamentals of dance fun for all her dancers.
56 Votes

Devine Performing Arts and Ballet 314

9-27-19

St. Louis, MO

This is my ballet teacher, Rachel Bodi, who no matter what puts her children first. She cares about every single one of us just as much as her own child.
18 Votes

Eim dance company

December 2018

Nephi utah

Marci Rasch is amazing and is a single mom who puts others need in front of hers. She is a drill team coach and coach for a competition dance team
1303 Votes

In Sync Center of the Arts

July 2019

Quincy, MA

Lauren Murphy is one of the most dedicated teachers I have met. She is at the studio 6 days a week. It would be 7 but the studio is closed on Sundays. Lauren is always there to help in any way she can. She goes above and beyond for every student, including the ones that she has never taught. You can expect her to be at every studio event to cheer on each kid that takes the stage. She makes sure to tell them how proud she is of each and every one of them. Lauren goes above and beyond for every person at the studio. We love and appreciate her so much!
28 Votes

Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts

10-7-19

Albuquerque, NM

Sarah Gonzales joined Keshet Dance & Center for the Arts in 2011 and has been a beacon for all the core values of excellence, inclusion, accessibility, opportunity, fluidity and authenticity. Sarah teaches approximately 100 students a week, from pre-professional students, to community classes for adults and many youth attending Keshet Dance through unlimited non-competitive scholarships. As Director of Keshet's Pre-Professional Program, Sarah has taken quality dance instruction and mentorship to a whole new level. Keshet's Pre-Professional Program is a comprehensive dance training that has students from ages 8 - 18 years, dancing 10-30 hours per week in contemporary, ballet, jazz, and hip hop to create well-rounded and versatile dancers (approximately 60-70% of Keshet's pre-professional students utilize scholarships). Many of Sarah's graduating students have gone on to receive national dance recognition and pursue ongoing dance education across the USA and abroad. In addition to facilitating the instruction curriculum, Sarah has developed a workshop series to teach these young dancers qualities of self-esteem/ body image, time management, healthy eating, injury prevention, dance history, dance resume building, auditioning and peer + community mentorship. This nomination comes from the students whose lives are forever richer because of Sarah Gonzales and her passion for dance education. "We are nominating Sarah Gonzales for the Greatmats 2019 National Dance Instructor of the Year Award, because of the hard work and dedication she puts into her students and her community. She works incredibly hard to make sure that all of her students are getting the best education that they can get, as well as the necessary tools for everyone of them to reach their fullest potential. Sarah never lets her students do less than their best, and challenges them every day to grow and be better than they were the day before. She gives plenty of corrective feedback to her students and helps them learn and understand the movement and technique she teaches. As the Pre-Professional Program Director, Sarah Gonzales has a lot more jobs than just teacher; she is a counselor, a confidant, and she's like a mother to her students. Sarah helps students in all aspects of life, as well as life after high school. Mostly we nominate Sarah Gonzales for this award because with all of this hard work and dedication she never gives up on us, nor does she lessen the challenges to make us grow as people and dancers, into the amazing people she has always believed us to be." -- Keshet's KP3 students
745 Votes

Melinas Dancing Garden

10/19/19

Lorton, VA

Krystal Klem (front) is great at pushing us to try our best and making our studio a family for all regardless of ages, genders, races, and any other differences. She is constantly working to make sure our studio stays the best it can be. She truly is amazing.
266 Votes

Mitchell Dance Company

September 14th, 2018

Pine Bush, New York

Sharon Mitchell has been dedicated to teaching dance in a small town outside of New York City for 35 years. Being a woman of color in a predominately white neighborhood, Sharon has been a champion of diversity and acceptance in the community. Being such a powerful presence in our town has led others to recognize her accomplishments, even if they were at first ignorant to her and her business. Sharon fearlessly trains her dancers to perform to their full potential and teaches them the importance of professionalism and grace. She treats her team not just as students, but as her children. She is always the first to help her kids through whatever they are going through, and is a loving mother figure to many. Like any good mother, Sharon knows when to call out her students when they are in the wrong, and teaches them how to own up to their mistakes. Sharon is invested in making us the best people and dancers we can be. She is an inspiration to everyone around her, and has created a friendly, safe, and home like environment at her studio. The Mitchell Performing Arts Center is truly a family, with a strong matriarch guiding it.
89 Votes

North Central Ballet

N/A

Keller, TX

Les Jordan is an excellent person and teacher. He puts our needs before anything else, and cares about each individual person in his company and makes sure that he's doing the best he can for everyone there. I could not ask for a better instructor.
2 Votes

Richmond Dance Center

august 2009

Richmond Virginia

Pam Turner - A great teacher and member of the community
3 Votes

Roots Dance Academy

June 30, 2019

Brentwood, TN

Jordan Grace Melton/Lozoya is absolutely amazing and has taught me more than I ever thought I could be taught in 2 years!! She loves me with her whole heart and I'm so happy that she's in my life!
3 Votes

Sidney Dance Company

May of 2018

Sidney, Ohio

Molly McFarland (far right) has impacted our entire studio and changed it for the better. She is like a mom to every single one of us and has always been there for us during any time of need. She's always constantly pushing us to be better dancers and people. Molly has been our studios life saver. We love her so much and think she deserves to be shown how amazing she is.
2 Votes

Stardom Dance Academy

8/11/19

Bloomingdale IL

I can not say enough good things about Kimberly Bartoszewski! She teaches her students work ethic, perseverance, and how to make their dreams come true. She is such a talented instructor and loved by every student. Kimberly would do anything for her students and her reward is how hard they work toward their goals. Amazing doesn't even began to cover how wonderful she is. Her whole world is her students and teaching them to dance.
23627 Votes

Studio D Dance Center

09/01/2019

North Massapequa, NY

Juliana Stagliano is a fantastic teacher & role model for my kids that took their dance education to new levels. Miss Juliana not only shares her passion for dance, but helped prepare my kids as they moved toward college goals by building their confidence and grace.
166 Votes

The Studio on Fifth

November 10, 2018

Altoona, PA

Kaitlyn Hallinan - This award was given to the studio that got the most votes for (hometown) favorite studio of the year.
2 Votes

The spot dance studio

June 25 2016

Nampa, Idaho

I am nominating Andrea Williams-Rhodes because of how much time and effort she puts into every kid to make them feel welcomed. She goes out of her way every day at her studio to teach and grow children's technique while encouraging them. She also teaches at Columbia High School where she coaches the dance team and she loves it. She grew up doing the dance team and is so passionate about it and about creating new things and pushing these kids to be their best, while also having a safe, respectful, and fun learning environment. Cannot think of anyone else better to win than her.
8 Votes

Tip Tap Toe Performing Arts

August 2019

Benicia, California 94510

Nicole Ceccarelli-Core is a beautiful person inside and out. Her passion for not only teaching dance but inspiring children of all ages goes unnoticed. Her innovated ideas and ambitious mindset make her business and students unique and different from all other studios in the area. She supplies opportunities for her dancers to take as well as supplying experiences that last a lifetime. The world is a better place for all dancers and nondancers with Nicole in it.
2759 Votes

Twirl Time Studio

10/14/2019

Pittsburgh, PA

Marianne Brash-Rieg is an amazing dancer teacher. She leads with passion , skill, smiles and gentleness. Her studio is a place where kids have fun being kids! Most students take one half hour to an hour class week! Students are taught the importance of practice, positive self image, being a leader and more along with their dance lessons. Twirl Time Studio offers all elements of dance for ballet, lyrical, hip hop, jazz, ribbonn, baton, gymnastics and more! We all are family there! Marianne goes above and beyond to welcome the kiddos and families into class as well as her fellow dance teachers. Opportunities have been given to those who might not of had a chance at any other studio to be part of a showteam with no try outs! She deserves this recognition for all she gives to others!
27482 Votes

Utah Dance Academy

2019

Ogden, Utah

Ashley Hess is one of the main teachers at our studio. She has worked every day, all day for years to help improve our studio. No matter what happens, she always ends up at the studio with a smile on her face. One example was just recently. When she got in a terrible car accident, which even caused her daughter to break her arm, she showed up at the studio less than a month later. Even though she's still in so much pain, she comes to dance with the biggest smile you could ever imagine. Ashley definitely deserves to be Dance Instructor of the Year because of her incredible beauty and strength (inside and out). Last year, she taught almost every class in the studio, and she claims that she wants to help every dancer. Whenever I am in need of a good hug or some advice, Ashley is the one to go to! She cares for each individual dancer and knows what going on in our lives. One of my favorite parts about dance is when Ash gives us all a big hug after class, and says "I love you," to each one of us.
12185 Votes

Want to honor a dance instructor for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style or humanitarian efforts, etc.? Then nominate him/her for the 5th 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:

(The nomination period has ended.)

To nominate the dance instructor for this award, visit https://www.greatmats.com/2019-greatmats-national-dance-instructor-of-the-year.php or email the following information to brett@greatmats.com before Nov. 1, 2019. 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/2019-greatmats-national-dance-instructor-of-the-year.php Nov. 14 through Dec. 1, 2019. 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/Community Impact
    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. 13, 2019.
  3. National Dance Instructor of the Year Certificate

More than 23,300 votes have been cast over the first 4 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/2019-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 criteria mentioned above.

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

2018 National Dance Instructor of the Year - Marlee Ramirez-Santana