From New York to New Work
Here at Houston Christian High School, new teachers have been shaking up the classroom and breaking it down. This year, we welcome new dance teacher, Ms. Kirstin Tucker. Ms. Tucker has been dancing her way through Broadway for the past six years. She has been seen in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the national tour of A Chorus Line, the national tour of West Side Story, and most recently, A Bronx Tale. When asked what made her choose dance as a career, her first thought is a production of Swan Lake from the London Ballet when she was three years old. Ms. Tucker graduated from Point Park University with a major in dance and a minor in musical theatre. Here we sit down to get a few answers:
How did you decide that Broadway was where you needed to be to pursue your dancing career?
“I always wanted to dance from a young age, and my parents pushed me to pursue my love of singing through voice lessons and participating in local musical theatre productions. From there, God just helped it all fall into place.”
How did being on Broadway help you grow?
“Occupationally, being on Broadway helped me learn and maintain my choreography efficiently, and helped me to build a balance between management and relationships. Mentally, I learned that nothing was ever gonna be perfect and mistakes were definitely ok.”
Why did you leave Broadway to come be a dance teacher in Houston?
I decided to leave Broadway after I realized something was missing in my life. I had just torn my ACL at an audition. I was in A Bronx Tale at the time, so I had to let my directors know that I would be taking a leave. I came to Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center to get my surgery and complete my six months of physical therapy. While here, I got to spend lots of quality time with my parents, which made me miss being home with them. I love passing on my passion, so I decided teaching was where I needed to be. We got the closing notice for A Bronx Tale three days before I found the dance teacher job notice for Houston Christian, and once again God helped it all fall into place.”
What has been the hardest transition from dancing on Broadway in 8 shows a week to teaching high school dance?
“Teaching high school dance is definitely different because I have to not just worry about how I’m doing with the choreography, but also how the students are doing. I have to make sure every one of my students leave having gotten what they needed to get out of the class. A student this year came in knowing the names of certain steps, but not knowing how to actually perform them. When I taught them, she was very excited to get them right, and I felt very fulfilled to have taught her this.”
Are you excited to be choreographing Broadway-style-dancing again with the spring musical, Mary Poppins?
Definitely, it’s gonna be a lot of work, but I’m very excited and think it will be fun for both me and the performers.”
What is your advice for current dance students, people on the edge of going into dance, or even students who later decide upon pursuing dance?
“Dance is different; It combines raw emotion with movement. You should try it and be completely unafraid and open to new things, especially the guys who are scared about dancing.”
So far, Ms. Tucker has proven to be a teacher of genuine character and supportive nature. She is willing to help anyone with anything, whether it be dance steps or advice for life. It is obvious she has a passionate heart for both her job and her students’ lives. She makes sure every student gets what they need out of her instruction no matter the circumstances. We welcome Ms. Tucker with open arms, and cannot wait to see what else she brings to the school from this year on.
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