The Artistic Director, Leslie Dee
The Artistic Director, Leslie Dee, began making her dance dreams come true at age 2. Her first teacher was Miss Sanborn who taught out of her home in Glendale, California. Her first dance was "Ball in the Jack". She then took classes with Miss Mimi (mother of 50's B Movie actress Joan Taylor) on Glenoaks Blvd. in Glendale. Her first dance there was "Priscilla Takes her Parasol"
At Miss Mimi's there was a picture of her daughter, Joan Taylor, on her toes in black pointe shoes. She was dressed like a Native American princess surrounded by two male dancers dressed like Indians. Leslie fell in love with this picture. One day she announced. "I want to dance like that". Off she went to the best ballet studio in that area back in those days, La Petite Ballet.
Step by step this lead to training for a career at San Francisco Ballet. Then on a whim she auditioned for a modern dance company. She then fell in love with the freedom and passion of modern dance. The fluidity, emotion and drama of modern dance suited her. So instead of dancing on stage in pointe shoes, she danced barefoot with Martha Graham Dance Company and Jose Limon.
When her professional career was over, she returned to the San Fernando Valley and began teaching until opportunity knocked. The former owner of Art of the Dance retired in 2000 and Miss Leslie took over the helm in 2001.
When she began teaching, she went back to college to ensure she was learning the craft of her new profession, dance teacher. This made her a well trained professional dancer with years of teaching experience and a degree from UCLA in dance education.
All this experience and training has gone into the development of a dance program that brings a love of dance, excellent technique and amazing artistry to every student at the studio. When it comes to the students at Art of the Dance, their joy is her passion and their future her priority.
A Short History of Art of the Dance
Once upon a time there was a very good recreational dance studio focused on the year end recital. The owner retired in 2000 and the Assistant Artistic Director, Leslie Dee, took over leadership. She wanted the studio to be more and started on a journey.
There were several challenges along the way. An imminent domain that did not go well. A new facility that presented almost insurmountable obstacles when the building was sold. Moving onward to holding classes at MKM Cultural Arts Center and Madilyn Clark Studios.
But during all this time of challenge Miss Leslie kept taking a loyal following of students to higher and higher levels of training and artistry, creating champion dancers and students who have gone on to professional dance careers. Through every challenge she never lost sight of the end goal of making a student's dance dreams come true step by step. The number of students who have started with the studio as toddlers and have remained to become truly remarkable young adults is amazing.
Today Art of the Dance is located at Evolution Studios servicing all four sectors of the dance school industry: pre-dance, recreational dance, competitive dance and pre-professional training in ballet and contemporary dance.
Saturday classes start tomorrow. The new season is underway!!