The National Dance Society this month named Valerie Winborne, a 1986 graduate of Sweet Briar College and resident of Portsmouth, Va., the 2016 Master Dance Educator of the Year.
Valerie Winborne. Photo: LinkedIn
According to a profile in the Virginian-Pilot
, Winborne is the chair of Virginia Beach City Public School’s Gifted Dance Education Program at Kemps Landing/Old Donation School. The National Dance Society’s prestigious educator award honors her work with pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students, particularly her “outstanding service to the art of dance through performance, instruction and educational outreach.”
A 1982 graduate of I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Winborne is the founder and director of V2W Experience Dance Theater Company, a local empowerment movement that “helps area teens find strength, character and purpose through dance.”
After a successful career with international dance companies, including Urban Bush Women, and ownership of a dance studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., Winborne returned to the Virginia Beach area and began teaching dance at Kemps Landing/Old Donation School in 2007.
Winborne said she sees a strong connection between the brain and the body.
“There are students who learn best through movement, which is the value of dance being offered in our school system,” she told the Virginian-Pilot. “And in community outreach programs, we see many young people finding their ‘voice’ in their body, in the freedom of expression that dance provides.”
Winborne said she credits her dance mentor at Sweet Briar, Eija Celli, for opening her eyes to the possibility of a dance career.
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