2009 De La Vina
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
As the primary teacher and owner of Westside Dance, Ms. Jen (as her students call her) has created a beautiful community ballet school. While many dance studios feel like "big business", Westside Dance offers a boutique variety of dance education that focuses on the different path of each individual student.
Ms. Jen was born in Honolulu, HI where she received her ballet training from Russian-born John Landovsky, of Hawaii State Ballet. At 17 she was chosen as one of ten juniors to represent the US in the 2002 International Ballet Competition. Shortly after competing, she was offered a company position with State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara where she performed leading roles including Clara in the Nutcracker, Cinderella and Snow White. After performing and traveling across the country for a decade, she has retired as a principal level ballerina to open her own school.
Describe your teaching style.
-Well, that very much depends on the age of the student. For my young students it is all about "lighting the fire". We use a lot of fantasy and fun to create passion and I am careful not to crush their creativity with too much discipline. For my older students I like to focus on the challenge. Overcoming obstacles and working hard for achievements will have life long benefits. I am never cruel but I can be tough. Ballet, like life, isn't always fair or easy and I want my students to develop the pride of mastery. They can use that skill for a ballet career, as a strong foundation for other dance forms, and for success in life!