For many people who live and have raised children in Alma, we know who “Miss Barb” is and how much she loves teaching her 4th grade students at Pine Avenue Elementary and her students at DuHadway Dance Dimensions.
Miss Barb started teaching for Patty McDonald in Ithaca before Jillian bought the Ithaca studio 25 years ago. Miss Barb has been with DDD for all of the transitions and changes that have taken place over the years. She even had the opportunity to train her daughter, Laura, and watch her grow into an amazing dancer. Today, Laura is following in her mother’s footsteps, as she also teaches at DDD.
When asked why Miss Barb likes to teach dance, she said, “I like to teach dance to see the transition in children not knowing how to put movements together to remembering a dance for recital. I enjoy the change and confidence that I see in the dancers.”
There have been many memorable moments in Miss Barb’s teaching career. But, her most memorable moment was teaching Tori, a young dancer in a wheel chair who could only move her head and smile. She did all of her dancing with her head and smile. She would sing the song and make her head move along with the walking dancers. Tori eventually got a self-motorized wheel chair that she could move and then she was able to move herself in a circle, change lines, go in a large circle and get herself on and off stage.
Miss Barb said, “This year at Warner (Hall at Central Michigan University where recital is held), the ramp to let her come back stage was removed. I was sad. Tori passed away a couple years ago. She had a true joy for life and was always so happy to be included in dance class.”
Dancers at DDD describe Miss Barb as kind, caring, structured, organized, knowledgeable, someone to respect, fun, demanding in a good way especially if want to be a serious dancer, and happy. And, as you can see from the photo below, loves her job!