On Valentine’s Day, we featured an article about one of our favorite dance blogs for early childhood dance, Maria’s Movers. Maria was kind enough to complete our Featured Guest Survey. She truly is an incredible woman and dance educator. Read below to learn more about her!

Full Given Name: Maria Francine Hanley – my married name is Blakemore but I haven’t fully embraced a new name yet. It’s so hard to do! 🙂

Where You Grew Up:  Very small town, Corry, Pennsylvania (close to Erie, PA)

Favorite TV Show: Thank goodness for DVR. I love Project Runway and Shark Tank.

Great Read: If You’re A Monster and You Know It By: Rebecca and Ed Emberley and Not A Box By: Antoinette Poriis (I only read children’s books at this point in my life!)

Currently on Your iPod: The Show: By: Lenka and Locked Out Of Heaven By: Bruno Mars

Dance Inspirations: Anne Greene Gilbert and Barbara Bashaw (both creative dance gurus)

Memorable Dance/Career Moment: Last year, when my vision of a dance celebration (word I use instead of recital) came together for all of my early childhood students. I teach children as young as 18 months and so many people told me that they would never get on stage, that the two year olds would freak out, and that the three year olds would just stand there. They were confident the 4 year olds would dance though. I never doubted myself, and I put everything I had into that show. I had a few littles that cried but overall everyone danced, and was happy, and it was remarkable! I was so proud of all of them and now I KNOW it can be done. In my opinion, we all need to trust young dancers more!  They are so brave!

Advice to Dance Studio Owners: Say yes as much as you can. Be creative, be availabe, and be sincere. Know that what you are teaching your students is about life, not just about dance. Whatever you say or do to them effects their whole life. As they become adults their dance experience will shape who they are. It’s important to make it amazing!

Keep up with Maria and all of her fabulous happenings via her BlogFacebook, and Twitter!