Raised in a dancing community, where everyone started dancing at about the age of four, I was referred to as the "Queen of Polka" and taught all of my cousins. We were the driveway champions and the show at every wedding. They say I used to twirl around and declare: ' When I grow up, I'm gonna be a fancy lady and teach dance.' I'm not sure about the 'fancy lady', however I've fulfilled my childhood dream and have enjoyed teaching for 20 years.
Prior experience as an Occupational Therapist and a Social Worker has given me the sensitivity to individual needs and abilities, to celebrate each success and to encourage and motivate students to meet their chosen goals, one step at a time.
Without any Ballroom skills, I started with Arthur Murray's School of Dance in 1987, and passed all the Bronze exams and enjoyed teaching full-time for years. Because I learned the man's part first, my lead skills are stronger than my follow skills, which is my claim to fame, as it is absolutely unique for a woman instructor. So I lead with an 'iron fist with velvet glove'. My strength is leading and I can teach the men to do the same. Students call me their dance doctor, as I can fix the man to lead you as you like to be lead... and we ladies know, it's all about the lead.
Mom, I think God gave you this passion,
To help Him heal others through DANCE!
In 1996, I was invited by two Directors, a former Fred Astaire Teacher/Trainer and a former Arthur Murray's Teacher/Trainer, to study, test out of the exam and instruct for Northwest Athletic Clubs' huge social dance program. This franchise was eventually purchased by Life Time Fitness. The Social Dance Program was a casualty in the transition, all instructors were let go, except me. They approached me and asked if I would rebuild their entire ballroom dance program for Lifetime Fitness, which included training and hiring instructors for all 22 locations. That's when I turned to my Fred Astaire trainer, mentor and friend, Harry Benson, instructor extraordinaire. Together we implemented a Professional Ballroom Dance Training Program based on the DVIDA curriculum which successfully trained instructors to pass their exams, one dance at a time.
It has been my pleasure to Direct the Social Dance Program at World Gym, now Onelife Fitness where I offered group classes and host our monthly Dance Party. Where they replaced the wood floor with foam rubber leaving us looking for a new place.
Carla's Dance Factory welcomed us with open arms, we are so excited and grateful.
See my Lessons page for more details.
Sondra: Professionally Triple Trained with exams:
Arthur Murray's School of Dance
Fred Astaire Training
Blessed to love what I do,
it's an honor to share my passion with you.
From the President of MN USA Dance: