A dance lover since birth, I grew up on Milwaukee’s south side and attended the   University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and fell in love with my college sweetheart.  We’ve been happily married 30 years and are blessed with two amazing children.

During my youth, I wrote for the school paper and recruited other wannabe dancers for talent shows.  Hooked on American Bandstand, Soul Train and obsessed with watching the Solid Gold Dancers, I developed into a self-taught mover and shaker and was quickly dubbed Pandy “Jackson” by those in attendance each summer at the neighborhood talent show held in my family’s garage.  Although I couldn’t afford professional training, throughout high school I longed to dance and was further inspired after receiving the talent award for a self-choreographed solo at the Wisconsin State Junior Miss Pageant.  In college, I continued to perform with my university’s dance club, Orchesis.  Our routine to Thriller rocked the house.

After putting childhood dreams aside and playing grown up for several years in the field of marketing and finance, I realized pieces of me were missing; the pieces that said I should be dancing or writing.  After becoming a young mother, I finally enrolled in my first professional dance class. The owner of a successful studio loved my passion and enthusiasm so much she offered me a  teaching position on her staff.  Through years of intense study, I evolved into a ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop instructor and created her studio’s award winning Troupe Program and eventually oversaw the  Assistant Teaching Program.  Serving as a main director for many years, I’ve taught students and teachers alike while also coaching  high school varsity dance. Although I’ve facilitated hundreds of auditions, organized regional conventions and competitions, participated in the studio’s nationally recognized competitive program and received numerous choreography awards, my greatest accolades do not hang on the wall, but are instead written in my heart.  They are the friendships shared with the many  students I’ve loved and trained throughout the years.

My life like everyone’s is laced with tragedy but God’s infinite blessings keep me lifted.  As my mother taught me it’s not the challenges we’re given in life but how we choose to move through them that matters most.  I’m grateful to the beautiful dancers and parents throughout the years who found my teaching and words of encouragement inspiring.  Nearly two decades later, with thousands of dancers joyfully guided including my own gifted daughter, I let go of the dream of dance to pursue my joy for writing.  I believe passion and presentation will take you further in life than technique alone. Your words and body are the instruments for the expression of your soul.  A dancer must immerse herself in the music and truly live the dance. For me, writing is the same; your words should be an authentic reflection of your inner being.  They must say what only your heart can say.

To all the dancers at heart–both young and old–I hope you’ll enjoy reading the first in our Dance Legacy Series, The Legend of L’Esprit, as much as Miss Doris and I enjoyed the spiritual journey of writing it.

With My Love & God’s Light, Miss Pandy♥