Magazine article Dance Teacher

Spotlight on Ashly Costa

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Spotlight on Ashly Costa

Article excerpt

In 2006, "Dancing With the Stars" alum Ashly Costa taught one of the first ballroom classes ever brought to the convention stage. She's now known for inspiring competition royalty to dream of becoming ballroom champions. Her secret? Teaching kids to fake it 'til they make it. "Trying something new is terrifying at first, but if they dive in 100 percent and not tiptoe, by the end of my class they are begging their parents for ballroom shoes," Costa says, "It's completely addicting." Costa, who now teaches for NUVO Dance Convention, likes to use dance terminology her jazz students are already familiar with when teaching new ballroom steps. She turns phrases like "volta" (a samba step) into things they've heard of before, like "ball-change," making all the difference in helping dancers feel confident in transitioning between styles.

Dance Teacher: What challenges should studio owners expect to face when adding ballroom to their curriculum?

Ashly Costa: Finding ballroom teachers who are willing to teach at competition studios isn't easy. There's a big gap between the ballroom and convention worlds, and very few of us have ever crossed the line. Once you find a teacher who is willing to work with comp kids, they are likely to only teach pure technique until it is perfect. That's great if your students want to be professional ballroom dancers, but what most of these jazz dancers are looking for is simply skills that will help them book jobs in the commercial dance industry. Look for teachers who are willing to give your studio what it needs. …

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