Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mom in the Spotlight: Dance Studio Owner, Jacqueline White

Jacqueline White began her training with Arnott Mader of the Richmond Ballet and went on study at the Virginia School of the Arts and with the Lake Erie Ballet. As a student at NC State, she danced under the direction of Robin Harris, performing at numerous colleges, ACDFA and at the Kennedy Center. Upon graduating from the School of Design, Jacqueline went on to study and dance with the Nutmeg Ballet before returning to North Carolina to teach and perform.  Since moving to Charlotte, she has danced under the direction of Martha Connerton as a founding member of "Kinetic Works" and in her Summer Dance Ensemble.  Jacqueline has also danced with Kim Robards Dance, in Denver, CO and with Opera Carolina. She is the owner/director of Open Door Studios and a founding member of project incite. Her choreography has been performed at Piccolo Spoleto, SCEDA, the North Carolina Dance Festival and BalletFest Atlanta.

For more information on Open Door Studios please visit 

How many children do you have?  Boys?  Girls?
I have two, one of each. 

How old are your children?  
My son, Sager, is 9.  My daughter, Lila, is 5.

Where were you in your dance career when your children were born?
With Sager, I was dancing in a small company called Martha Connerton/Kinetic Works and teaching dance part-time.  And with Lila, I was just into my second year as a dance studio owner.

Has motherhood changed the course of your career?  If not, how are you staying on the artistic path you originally set out on?
If I were not a mother, I would probably be fully invested in dancing and teaching.  Children keep me balanced.

However did you manage starting a dance studio, let alone growing it, with two small children?
I was able to succeed in starting a dance studio with two small children because I didn't load myself down with expectations.  For me it was simple - I knew I needed to be teaching, but still close to home and in one place.  I did not have to rely on large numbers, as I only had one other teacher to pay, and I had a very supportive neighborhood.

What things do you do to stay informed dancewise?  
To stay informed, dance wise, I read several magazines, blogs, and books.  I take class as often as I can.  Every summer, I make sure to do a summer enrichment workshop for dance teachers.  In the past I have taken the courses of Finis Jhung and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.  This summer, I'm excited to be doing the American Ballet Theater workshop.  I also regularly attend performances and do research on the Internet.

How are you shaping the dance scene in Charlotte?
My studio offers open classes and master classes taught by both local professionals and visiting artists from renowned companies in town on tour.  For example, we have had artists from Bill T. Jones and Dayton Contemporary give workshops at the studio. ODS bridges a much needed gap between the collegiate program at UNCC,  the Queen City's professional ballet company, NCDT, and Northwest School of the Arts, a public arts high school.

How involved are your children in dance, and in the life of the studio in general? How do you get them to other activities with your Open Door obligations?
My children both take classes, whether that is to please me or themselves, I am still not sure.  They know most of the older students and all of the instructors by tagging along with me after school at least once per week.  I want them to be at home at the studio, whether they continue dancing, or not.  The studio could be theirs one day, but as for now, it is kind of like another sibling.

If you were writing your momoirs what would be your best this-would-only-happen-to-me story?
I can't think of one episode, it is more of a daily occurence.  I guess it would have to be when sitting through my studio's very first recital, I missed it as I was breast feeding my 1 week old!

Biggest piece of advice for new moms, especially creative, career-driven types?
There has to be balance--don't try, as I did, to keep everything as it was before children (clean house, busy social calendar, taking classes, joining every cause).  Learn to say no and let things happen on their own. . .

1 comment:

  1. Your advice made me realize how importance balance is when it comes to dealing with life, children and career. I just joined the new moms support group in NY and I'm so glad I get a lot of advice from them too.


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