We can’t get enough of #Convention! It’s been great to see our dancers, dance families, and especially our amazing staff! We had the chance to chat with Michael Deeb, one of our fabulous staff members, about why he loves Convention and what he hopes our dancers will learn this year.
Q: How long have you been teaching dance?
A: I started teaching dance when I was in high school. Dancers in the senior classes at our studio were invited to be assistant teachers starting at age 14, and I was given my first junior jazz class to teach when I was 16! I just kind of never stopped teaching after that point, and I’ve now taught many styles of dance to all ages and levels.
Q: Do you have a favorite type of dance to teach and why?
A: I love all styles, but my favorite to teach is Musical Theatre. I love placing focus on storytelling through movement, and watching dancers think out of the box and develop their own unique characters. I always explain that this style of dance is not about the next “big trick” or flashy step – it’s about telling a story. These focal points are things that dancers can apply to all other styles of dance, as well.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about Convention this year?
A: I’m looking forward to being wowed by the incredible technique and love of dance that all Platinum dancers show! The dancers attending PDE conventions get me so excited and truly inspire me!
Q: Which classes will you be teaching at Convention?
A: This year I am teaching Musical Theatre and Tap in the Junior and Senior rooms.
Q: There’s always that one move or combination that gives you a hard time. Is there any specific dance move that has been difficult for you? If so, how did you get better at it?
A: Okay, this is embarrassing, but it took me almost an entire year to figure out how to do drawbacks in tap class. Literally just spank, heel, step. Couldn’t do it. I remember faking them across the floor for months, absolutely dreading them! I eventually asked my cousin (who was in class with me) to help me break them down, and just kept working at them until one day, everything clicked!
Q: What is your favorite dance memory?
A: My favorite dance memory is the four years I spent as a dance major at the University at Buffalo. Dancing in college was absolutely the best decision I could have made. I was able to train in all styles of dance, from ballet to jazz to modern to tap to ballroom, and I met my very best friends through our program. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to work hard, grow as an artist, and to cultivate my own personal style under the watchful eye of our incredible faculty.
Q: Who are your favorite people to follow on social media (dance related or not!)?
A: I’m a huge fan of the Final Five USA women’s gymnastics team! They are simply incredible – I think in a past life I must have been an Olympic balance beam champion…
Q: You have been involved in quite a few productions — which one is your favorite?
A: My favorite show of all time is A Chorus Line, and I was lucky enough to be cast as “Mike” in the national tour a few years ago. I had a blast sharing that story across the country! It’s an incredibly important piece of theatre for dancers to see. An amazing story full of classic, stylized jazz movement, and characters to root for – how can you go wrong?
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge is for young dancers today, and how can they overcome it?
A: The biggest challenge young dancers face today is trends vs. technique. Trends come and go, but technique never goes out of style. If dancers would replace one jazz or contemporary class a week with a ballet class, they would benefit tremendously (and we would enjoy watching them even more!). Taking ballet class is like eating your vegetables – it might not be your favorite, but it’s the most important.
Q: Are you on social media? Our dancers would love to follow you!
A: Yes! Follow me on Instagram @mpdeeb!
Q: What has dance taught you?
A: Dance has taught me how to be confident and to assert myself in space. It’s the place where I feel most confident and the most “me.” It’s not just a part of me… it IS me! I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t followed my cousin to our dance studio at age five.
Q: Dancing is tiring! What’s your favorite food to help you refuel after a day of dancing?
A: Greek yogurt, low-fat string cheese, and an apple with peanut butter are my go-to snacks to get through a busy dance day. I also love protein bars – I’m a vegetarian so I need to get my protein in! Quest and Think Thin bars are my current faves. I try to always have something to munch on, since I rarely get a chance to sit down and eat a whole meal on a busy day! Oh, and WATER! Chug it. Gallons of it. Gotta stay hydrated!
We’ll see you at our next stop, Michael! Dancers, keep checking our blog to get to know more about our great faculty and staff.