Katie Wilson took her first dance class at the tender age of 3.
“I started with the tap and ballet combo class and immediately loved it,” she said.
As she grew up, Wilson never lost her passion for dance. The Glendale resident is now the Dance Director and Varsity Spiritline Assistant Coach at Cactus High School.
Recently, Wilson received some very exciting news: someone nominated her for a National Dance Instructor of the Year award.
Twenty-nine dance teachers from across the country are in the running for the fifth annual award, which is being presented by Greatmats.
The award honors instructors who have made a positive impact in the lives of their students and communities.
Vicki Lopez of Desert West Dance in Goodyear was also nominated for the award; the winner will be announced on Dec. 13.
Learning she was nominated was not only a tremendous surprise for Wilson, but it was also quite mysterious.
“I was excited and grateful to hear someone would take the time to submit my name. This is such a big secret I have no idea who did it,” Wilson said, adding she has taught dance for six years, five of them at Cactus High School.
“I actually attended Cactus as a student so having the opportunity to teach here and give back to this school and community has meant so much to me has been an amazing experience,” she said.
“It is a complete dream to be able to go to work every day and get to share my passion with a new generation of dancers.”
Wilson currently teaches three levels of dance: beginning, advanced and performance. She works with high school students of all ages, ranging from freshmen to seniors.
“As the dance director I have the opportunity to work with my students on everything from choreography to lighting,” she said.
Wilson said her favorite styles of dance to teach are jazz and contemporary.
“I think these two genres are different enough that I get to see each of my students display his or her personality while performing,” she said, adding teaching is truly an adventure because no two days are the same.
“It is a great deal of fun for students and me to see each other perform a variety of genres. And it is an honor to have the opportunity to support students as they work towards their goals.”
While Wilson definitely has fond memories of those first dance classes she took as a very young girl, she said she has grown to love dance even more as an adult—in part because it allows her the opportunity to express herself in a creative way.
“Being a dancer has given me not only endurance, strength, and knowledge, but it has also given me confidence and poise in front of an audience,” she said.
“I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to help young men and women develop these same skills as part of my teaching.”
For more information about the Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year award, visit greatmats.com.