The SPECTRUM

Volume 31

The SPECTRUM

The SPECTRUM

Dance teacher fosters fun, hard work

Dance+teacher+fosters+fun%2C+hard+work
Braden Moran Photography

The inclusive and lively dance studio at Harvard-Westlake’s middle school is home to an even more passionate dance teacher, Joe Schenck. Schenck has been passionate about dance since he was a kid, growing up performing and creating. After years of immersing himself in opportunity as a dancer, Schenck moved away from performing and entered the realm of instructing.
“It just felt really natural to move into teaching dance full time,” Schenck said.
This is his eleventh year of teaching dance at Harvard-Westlake. Schenck already has plans to differentiate and better the dance curriculum this year from other years. Schenck also has core values that remain the same that he instills in his studio and for his students every year. For example, he wants his students to feel challenged by giving them skills to execute, appropriated to their level and experience. He also wants the studio’s environment to be fun and emphasizes a “balance between working hard at something and also enjoying it”.
One of the most important principles to Schenck is to foster an inclusive environment and to make sure everyone feels represented and welcome in the space.
“I constantly educate myself about the ways that some traditional dance programs, or maybe even my own dance experiences, may have been somewhat exclusive to certain people and to think about how I can make subtle changes along the way,” he said.
Dance is a core part of Schenk’s identity individually but he also believes that dance plays a huge part in community and bringing people together, in the classroom and out.

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About the Contributor
Haley Ryan ’27, Reporter
Haley Ryan ’27 is a self-driven first-year journalism student. She has always enjoyed writing and is looking forward to writing for Harvard-Westlake in the future. “I want to write for the school because I think it would be really fun and I want to educate people,” said Ryan. She plays softball and soccer outside of school, and is interested in writing about those sports as well as yearbook. To Haley, her friendships and family mean everything. “Since I’ve been at Harvard-Westlake, I’ve built a lot of close friendships and they really mean a lot to me…and my family of course, love me and support me through everything,” said Ryan.
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