Gilbert teacher blends dance instruction with raising self-esteem - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert teacher blends dance instruction with raising self-esteem

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 9:30 am

Positivity was in short supply for Lawana Tremble when she grew up. She said she was bullied as a kid, discriminated against in a variety of ways and told she’d never amount to anything.

Now that she’s abandoned childhood for adulthood, Tremble helps kids going through similarly difficult times through positive practices and her passion for dance.

Tremble, who owns LJanaes Dance Scouts — “Janaes” represents her middle name — works with Gilbert girls looking to learn a few steps and who could use something of a confidence boost. The second part is linked to a childhood in which she said she didn’t fit in with her other classmates. The result was a growing-up period littered with rejection and insults.

“That can really tear a person’s confidence down,” she said.

She did have an outlet via her interest in artistic expression, starting with singing when she was younger. She eventually found an interest in dance, but had the plug pulled on her momentarily when her parents couldn’t afford to send her to class anymore.

“That really hurt, because I had a lot of potential and had nowhere to put it in,” she said.

Tremble made it through the difficult childhood and now uses her problematic past as a teaching tool of sorts to her students to build up their self-esteem as she builds up their dance skills. She accomplishes that goal by mixing in the dance sessions — Tremble teaches jazz, hip-hop and a little bit of everything — with a few motivational tricks added in, and offers reduced costs for students who have difficulty affording the expense.

A session hosted in Gilbert on April 28 included a large portion of the lesson spent on basic dance moves — it was the first session with the four students — that started with a group huddle in which each student had to offer something she is already good at and an area in which she can improve. Afterward, Tremble assembled the girls together to and had them write down how they view themselves, and she said she’ll revisit those thoughts on the final day of her lessons. The students also took the first steps toward developing their own competitive dance team by recommending team names and even color schemes.

The dance instruction and the self-esteem exercises balance each other well, with the former itself a solid means of getting out some of the frustrations in life.

“Dance is a form of expression; it’s a way you can release and step out of yourself,” she said.

The dance aspect is the reason student Tianna Salas attended the first session in Gilbert. Salas said she’s danced since she was 3, and said she was looking for a new studio to improve her skills when she met Tremble at her school. It didn’t take too long for Salas to become Trembles’ de facto assistant, and the first round of music came courtesy of Salas’ personal collection.

Although the dance is her priority, Salas does like the emotional aspect of Tremble’s program due in part to the inherent team-building nature of it.

“I think that’s pretty cool … eventually it will get us all closer together.”

But the confidence games and exercises serve their own purpose as well, and Tremble said the end result of the constant flow of good vibes and positivity is a girl who feels much better about herself after her time with Tremble.

“That’s what makes it worth it, seeing the transformation of people,” she said. “They just find freedom; it really releases them.”

Summer camps are scheduled for June 2-13 and July 7-18. For more information, contact Tremble at (520) 350-3492 or DanceLJ45@gmail.com.

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