Life as a dance teacher

Sahvanna Thompson, Reporter

Dance is much more than just your body moving around to music. Dance is an art form that lets your body move with emotion. Some dancers grow up to pursue their dream as a performing artist and others become a teacher for dance to give back what they learned.

Lori Bradford, born in Miami, Florida, has been a dancer since she was five years old. Bradford’s sister was born with a dislocated hip so she had to be in a sport. As a result, Bradford’s mother put both her and her sister in classical ballet.

“My first passion would have to be people, that is more important than dance. I am a very people person, very oriented into hanging out with other humans and learning about them. In order to really do all of that is by teaching,” she adds.

Bradford has been a dance teacher for 37 years. She started her teaching career in Miami in 1980. She met her husband when he was on spring break in Miami and they moved up to Alaska in 1982. Bradford taught at Alaska Dance Theater in 1983, and in 1990 she became the dance teacher at West Anchorage High School where she has been teaching for 27 years.

A relative newcomer to the dance scene, Marcus Freeman was born in a small town in Illinois and moved to Alaska at the age of five. Freeman is the owner and artistic director of the The Drift Gallery here in Anchorage. Freeman opened up his dance studio, inside the Northway Mall, this summer.

Freeman created his dance studio with his crew, Artistic Drift Crew. Every member teaches a class at The Drift Gallery. “I feel like what I have and what my group can offer and the people that I teach can offer is not really existent so much in Alaska. I feel like we have such a unique feel and I know certain things, so I wanted people to have a place to come vibe out and learn the right things,” he says.

“What started my passion for dance was actually watching my friends do it and it made me really want to take a part of it and be in it,” he says. Freeman has been dancing for about eight years and has been a professional dance teacher for four. Freeman spent a lot of the time teaching himself how to dance and keep his motivation. “I want to become the teacher that pretty much teaches the proper things to people but also speed the process up for dancers so they do not have to spend their whole life becoming great when they become great in a year,” he adds.

Marquece Blanks is a local 19 year-old dancer. “The very first competition I actually saw, I was nine years old, and it was America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV. It was cool because it was a combination of my two favorite things: ninjas and breakdancing,” he says.

Blanks has been dancing for 10 years and currently teaches intermediate teens, beginning adults, and intermediate adults at The Drift Gallery.

“My goals in life are to just settle down and really find something that keeps my attention for the rest of my life. In that case it would be dance and it is definitely so energetic and inspiring.” He adds, “My goal is to show the world that you can make it not the so normal way.”