Kathy Kohatsu has been educating students of all ages in dance for more than 10 years. After receiving a BA in Economics and Performing Arts from Colby College, she earned her MFA in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University. As an MFA candidate she worked with numerous choreographers and teachers, performed in multiple concerts and venues, taught classes, and directed the undergraduate dance collective. Kathy now owns and teaches at Creative Edge Dance Studio (CEDS) in Bethlehem, N.H., a studio that serves 200 young dancers in northern N.H. Kathy has been involved with dance at The White Mountain School for 9 years.
I wasn’t one of those kids that knew right away I was going to be a dancer. My parents never enrolled me in dance class and I never asked. I didn’t dislike dancing; I just didn’t pursue it. I was a soccer player, artist, lacrosse player, but most prominently I was a gymnast. That was my childhood dream, my childhood passion.
When I found dance in my teenage years, I found my place. It was so obviously right. Its combination of physicality and artistry bundled together just worked for me. While speaking on stage would send me into a panic attack, dancing on stage in a performance would take me to a place of complete confidence and ownership. I had found something that quite literally made my heart soar. It was exciting!
As the WMS dance instructor, I can pass on that excitement. Students come into the studio with vastly different movement portfolios. Some have years of dance training, while others are true beginners. Dance is not a requirement for graduation, so students who choose to take dance do so because they want to. The one common thread linking them together is the curiosity to explore their movement potential.
Every day I walk into the studio, I try to go in with the sentiment that “today is a great day to dance.” Even if things outside of the studio are in a downward spiral, the dance space has always been one to lift my spirits. I hope to give my students that same experience. For me, this means encouraging students to fill their movement with boldness and energy. When I see even the shyest student develop the self-confidence to explore and appreciate both the physical and artistic side of dance – that is pretty amazing.
Sometimes communicating my passion for dance to students and its inspirational effect on me is hard to articulate. It is difficult to pinpoint to others exactly what it is that makes dance ‘my thing.’ But what I do know is that I made the right choice by taking the risk to follow my passion for movement. The career that it led me to has broadened my understanding of dance. It has allowed me to not only keep doing what I love to do, but to continue to share that love with others. Sharing dance through teaching is quickly becoming a new passion of mine.
My journey to becoming a dance teacher was not a planned one but one that I uncovered as I kept following this strong desire to dance. I am thrilled when a student takes the risk to step into the dance studio. Who knows what they might find?