Teacher Uses Dance Championships to Relieve Stress, Learn Management


Swinging Sensation: Biology teacher Elizabeth Ravdin and David Miller dance during the Open Strictly Swing finals at the USA Grand National Dance Championship 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alyssa Ochoa, reporter

Keeping time with the music and intense moves of West Coast Swing, biology teacher Elizabeth Ravdin puts all of her energy into her dance. She moves to the music as she focuses on her dance partner, which creates a bond between the two on the dance floor.

“[The first class] was great,” Ravdin said. “The instructor encouraged us to look up YouTube videos of champions dancing West Coast Swing and once you see one of the competition videos, you never want to do any other style of dance.”

Ravdin says she has always dabbled in dancing, but started first dancing socially with West Coast Swing after taking her first class four years ago. She uses dance as a stress reliever, taking a break from her life as a teacher.

“It was right when I started teaching,” Ravdin said. “I needed to pick up a hobby to distract me from school sometimes. A lot of people said it would give me balance and it did balance out my life.”

According to Ravdin, West Coast Swing positively impacted her life, helping her gain responsibilities throughout her adult life, such as budgeting and time management.

“It is an expensive hobby,” Ravdin said. “Dance in any form, is expensive. You have to think ‘How much am I spending when I travel to these cities?’ It forces you to be a bit more savvy.”

Along with becoming more well-rounded, Ravdin has the chance to have an impact on the students at her school. Freshman Danielle Miller knows Ravdin through dance. Both of Miller’s parents are dance instructors, her dad having danced with Ravdin.

“My biggest support is my mom, my dad, and Ms. Ravdin,” Miller said. “She’s been a huge inspiration for me to get back into competing. It’s just a wonderful thing.”

Miller says that Ravdin is a huge inspiration for her dancing. She says that anytime the two talk, they converse for hours on end about the different moves and energy required to keep up on the dance floor.

“It’s fun because you’re kinda just playing around with your [dance] partner,” Ravdin said. “It’s all about the moments you make with your partner. That’s what I find the most rewarding [about West Coast Swing].”