Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I'm at SDA/MRDA Full-Time

My name is Maria Sullivan. I am the daughter of Helena & David Sullivan, Owners of Stowe & Mad River Dance Academy.

I grew up dancing at Stowe Dance Academy (before Mad River Dance Academy - MRDA was established). Helena & David established Stowe Dance Academy in 1990, when I was only a year old. Stowe Dance Academy was not always called that, it started as 'The Classical Ballet School,' then it was 'The Dance Academy,' then 'Stowe Dance Academy,' and now 'Stowe & Mad River Dance Academy.' We have grown.

I started dancing at age 2.5, in the basic young dancer program. I remember few things: my first performance, some dance classes, having my mom as my teacher. As I grew - I remember more, but that is for another post, another time.

Fast forward to High School Graduation. I graduated. I had a great summer. I had NO idea where I wanted to go for college. I didn't want to be one of those kids who just went to school, wasted money and didn't get anything out of it. So - I took a year "off."

I moved to Stockholm, Sweden and lived with my grandparents. I attended Balettakademien Stockholm - for dance (ballet, modern, jazz, anatomy), and I took Swedish writing and reading courses at . It was a very important and influential year. During this year abroad, Helena found a school she tought I might be more interested in, Columbia College Chicago . Columbia is an arts school that focuses on students majors from freshman year (no messing around). I graduated with a double major in Marketing Communications/Public Relations & Dance Pedagogy/Early Childhood Education - fitting, huh?

I moved back to Vermont after graduating not because I wanted to. I didn't have a job, and life in the city is expensive. It was ALL worth it. I moved home, worked the Summer at SDA, met a boy (still with him 4 years later), and really got into teaching SDA/MRDA & TRIP.

At first, I didn't have my heart set on only working at the studio. I wanted to get out there, live the business life and see if it was for me. I was so fortunate to get a job at Fuse Marketing in Burlington, VT. I worked at Fuse Marketing (a youth marketing agency for almost three years). Fuse is an amazing company and does great things for brands looking to market towards youth, young adults - millennials, but I eventually found that it was the right time for me to move on. After about two months of discussion - I was able to convince Helena (MY MOTHER) to hire me on full time at Stowe & Mad River Dance Academy (crazy lady). . So far - it was the best decision I could have made - I'd like to think shen would agree. I've fully enjoyed being at the studio full time, being around our students, teaching more, choreographing, working with TRIP and seeing our students improve week-by-week!

So - leaving a full time gig for teaching and managing SDA|MRDA - means that I spend a lot more time at SDA, engaging with students, teaching classes, running the business, being the communicator for parents and students and running all events! It also means that my commute went from 1 hour to 3 minutes! Woot Woot!

My time here will continue to progress and evolve. Let me know if there is anything you're looking for at SDA|MRDA, on our social media pages, Facebook & Instagram, or on our Blog.

Or - Just stop by SDA and let me know!

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