This week’s Staff Spotlight is on our brand new Dance Head Specialist Leslie Swanson.  Leslie comes to us from Phoenix, Arizona and is bringing with her not only her son Tanner (who will be a New Camper), but also a ton of Dance Experience!  Enjoy learning more about Leslie!

Leslie SwansonWhat year is this for you at camp?

This is my first year at camp.  Ever!

 What brought you to camp?

A referral from Coach Clouser (our Baseball Head Specialist), another fellow Arizonan, is what first introduced me to CEL.  However, the complete change of environment from 115 degree Arizona is one of the most inviting features for me this summer.  The opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary and have a summer of all new experiences is a close 2nd!

Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Anaheim California.  Yes, I went to Disneyland about 6 times a year as a kid.

Where do you live?

My family and I live in a Phoenix, Arizona.  At 17 I moved from California to go to Arizona State University.  I loved it so much here, I never moved back.

What do you do in the off-season?

I spend my working hours in the off season, traveling to and from numerous schools, learning centers, and dance studios where I teach dance daily.  I spend the majority of that time directing and teaching the Dance Program at the local YMCA.  Throughout the week my students range in ages of 2 years old to Adults, and the skill levels range from beginning to advanced.  Some of my students are taking dance for the first time, and others are seasoned competitive dancers.  Given that I teach at so many different locations throughout the week, it gives me a lot of variety in what my classes look like each day, which makes everyday fresh and fun!

In my “not” teaching time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, son and two Boston terrier pups.  We are huge football and hockey fans, and love going to games.  I also enjoy running, yoga, hiking, reading, and entertaining friends.

 What is your background experience in your activity area?

I began dancing when I was very young and started dancing competitively at the age of 12.  Throughout high school I trained and competed in Jazz, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Ballet, Tap and Hip Hop.  At the time, I was dancing 6 days a week, 3 to 5 hours a day.  Throughout my time in college, I continued to study Ballet on a regular basis. It was at that time that I learned more about teaching from some of the amazing teachers that I had.  I began teaching at the age of 18 at a studio in Phoenix.  In the past 21 years I have not only taught classes to recreational dance students, but have choreographed numerous competition pieces.  Many of these routines have gone on to win National Competition High Point Awards and Outstanding Choreography recognition.  As a teacher, I am most recognized for being able to make a routine look extremely rehearsed and polished.   Within the past 6 years I have changed my focus to teaching more students in the younger, beginning levels, as that is where I think the true teaching lies.  The opportunity to give the very first experience of dance to a student is an important one, and I have learned so much about being a teacher from the multitude of dancers I have taught.