Raised in a dancing community, where everyone started at about the age of four, I was considered the "Queen of Polka" and taught all of my cousins how to dance. We were the driveway champions, and the show at every wedding. They say I used to twirl around and declare: "When I grow up, I'm gonna be a fancy lady and teach dancing.' then continue by singing the song from the Coke Commercial, " I'd like to teach the world to Dance, in perfect harmony...". I'm not sure about the 'fancy lady', however I've fulfilled my childhood dream and have enjoyed teaching for 20 years.
Prior experience as an Occupational Therapist and a Social Worker (BSW) has given me the sensitivity to individuals' needs and abilities in order to celebrate each success, to encourage, and to motivate students to meet their chosen goals, one step at a time.
Enthusiasm abound and proud of my Polka, Arthur Murray's School of Dance took me on, in 1987.
Not knowing any ballroom, I was taught correctly from the start. I was trained to lead first, which makes me the only female instructor, in America, as Harry would remind me, with a stronger lead than follow. Because I know how I like to be lead, like the Princess of the dance, I specialize in teaching men how to lead with finesse; always taking care of the lady, with an iron fist adorned with a velvet glove, like the Prince of the dance. For this reason ladies call me 'The Dance Doctor'; I fix their man's lead, and we ladies all know: it's all about the lead. I passed all of Arthur Murrays' Bronze exams and taught Ballroom full-time for years. They also taught me to teach the Country Dances, Polka, Hop Polka, and The Schottishe in order to prepare students for weddings. I loved every minute of it and my students used to laugh and say, "Sondra you are having so much fun, we think you ought to pay us."
In 1996, I was invited to join Northwest Athletic Clubs' huge Social Dance Program with one of the trainers I had worked with at Arthur Murrays' School Of Dance. This program was lead by two Directors who both trained me: a former Fred Astaire Teacher/Trainer and my former Arthur Murray's Teacher/Trainer. I loved it and taught there for many years, however, this franchise was purchased by Life Time Fitness. The Social Dance Program was a casualty in the transition and they let all the instructors go. Anticipating the ax as well, I faced my boss, but instead was asked to rebuild their entire ballroom dance program, to train, and to hire instructors, for all 22 locations. Overwhelmed, I turned to my trainer, my mentor, and my friend, the one and only: Mr. Harry Benson, thee Fred Astaire, training teachers for 20 years.
Together we implemented a Professional Ballroom Dance Training Program based on the DVIDA curriculum which has successfully trained instructors for their exams. Harry also trained and prepared me for my DVIDA exam, which is why I am certified today.
Therefore, I'm Professionally Triple Trained with exams from:
1. Arthur Murray's School of Dance
2. Fred Astaire Trained and
3. ProDVIDA Certified ( Dance Vision International Dance Association)
So busy training and teaching that I had no idea my students surprised me by nominating me for Best Instructor of State. Thinking I had no chance against the big studios, I opted out of attending the Awards Banquet in favor of teaching lessons. Mary, the Editor, called me to tell me that I HAD to be there. It was then that I thought I had a chance. Honored with the award 2 years in a row, I was heartbroken when we were transferred. But God is good, and He had other plans for me.
It has been my pleasure to Direct the Social Dance Program at both locations for World Gym in Peachtree City as well as host 'Our Dance Parties' at World Gym, bought by Onelife Fitness, for 11 wonderful years.
Since they replaced the wood floor for foam rubber, we found a wood floor at Carla's Dance Factory, who welcomed us with open arms. We are so excited.
So blessed, to do what I love, and love what I do,
'tis an honor to share my passion with YOU!
Sondra Chan, ProDVIDA Dance Degree
See article in the Guide Magazine! Click here!
See the article in the Bridal Magazine on the About page.
See the article from the President of
MN USA Dance: below
Big Brother Deano and I dancing at the reception of our Aunt Joyce's wedding.......hey, who is leading?