Teacher Feature – Ms. Toni

“Dance is my passion, my life, it’s me. It’s who I am, and I am lucky enough to also call it my career.”

We all know Ms. Toni as teacher, Artistic Director, talented choreographer, and tirelessly working studio owner. In this month’s Teacher Feature, we have the opportunity to get to know Ms. Toni, the dancer.

Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Ms. Toni fell in love with dance at a very young age. “I cannot remember a time that I was not in love with dance, I was born loving dance,” remembers Ms. Toni. “My debut choreography experience was in 4th grade, I choreographed and costume designed a piece for me and my peers to Beat It, for the talent show- it was a show stopper!”

 When Ms. Toni was only 14 years old, her teacher recognized her potential and asked her to assist her in classes. Over the next two years, Ms. Toni would demonstrate for the class while her teacher, who had undergone surgery on her feet, taught from a chair. “She became like a second mom to me,” shares Ms. Toni. At 16 years old, her teacher gave Ms. Toni her own classes to teach.

Ms. Toni wants all of her students to remember that she “pushed them not to limit themselves, to believe in themselves, be proud of being part of a team, and honor dedication”. She also shares that as her student, her goal for you in every class is to feel like you worked harder than anyone else in the room. “Work with blinders on, because only your journey will get you where you are going.

Strive for progress – not perfection. “Just because today’s pirouettes weren’t perfect, if you keep working, tomorrow they will be better!” Finally, “that I believe in them – even when they don’t believe in themselves.”

Her advice to her students regarding not placing limits on themselves goes way back, in fact it is the same advice she would give to her younger self!

When asked what she loves most about being your teacher, Ms. Toni says, “I love to share my passion, and when I see that the fire has started in my students, I feel inspired. I love when what I’m trying to teach them about technique clicks and then the artistry starts to oooze out, when their light bulbs turn on my heart glows!”

Every day, Ms. Toni gives her best to us, and strives to help each of her students find the best within themselves as well! Thank you so much Ms. Toni, for guiding your students on their amazing dance journey!

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