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Sandy High Junior Makes Teaching Leap posted on 06/30/2023
Meet the Athelete

By Ty Tilden
The Mountain Times

In the studio of Northwest Dance Center, an elegant figure moves gracefully across the wooden floor, her movements a story of dedication, perseverance and a profound love for dance. Meet Jenna Wallace, a junior at Sandy High School, who at the young age of 16 became a dance teacher at her dance company, inspiring the next generation of dancers with her talent and unwavering passion.
Wallace’s journey in the world of dance began 13 years ago, when, as a wide-eyed three-year-old, she took her first steps into a dance studio. She valued “something to do other than school — moving [my] body and making friends,” Wallace said. Since then, her life has been interwoven with rhythm and melody, and the art of dance has become an intrinsic part of her personality. From lyrical to hip hop, tap to contemporary, Wallace has explored various dance styles, continually pushing the boundaries of her abilities and honing her craft.

Having grown up in Sandy, Wallace has been a familiar face between the Northwest Dance Center and its predecessors for as long as she can remember. As the years went by and dance studios changed hands, her passion and talent blossomed, catching the attention of her instructors and fellow dancers. It was clear to everyone that Wallace possessed a unique gift for dance, both as a performer and as a natural leader.

“I liked learning from different instructors, because it gave me the opportunity to learn different teaching styles and I got to apply that when I became a teacher,” Wallace said.
As Wallace reached her teenage years, she wanted to share her knowledge and love for dance with others. “I like dance, and when I was a kid, I had teachers that made me realize it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life. And I wanted to be that influence for other people. I expressed interest in teaching but I was like, ‘I don’t know, I’m probably too young,’” she said. With the support and encouragement of Emily Wright, owner and teacher at Northwest Dance Center, Wallace took the first steps in her dance teaching career. She began teaching two classes last year and has found great pride in seeing her students perform at two recitals so far.

Today, Wallace finds herself on the other side of the studio’s mirror, facing a group of eager young faces looking up to her for guidance. The role of a dance teacher requires more than just technical expertise and athleticism — it demands patience, empathy and the ability to inspire. Fortunately, Wallace possesses these qualities in abundance.

With her infectious enthusiasm and unwavering belief in her students’ potential, Wallace creates a nurturing environment where dancers of all ages and skill levels feel empowered to express themselves freely. Through her own choreography, she challenges her students to push past their limits and discover new dimensions within themselves.

Wallace’s transition from student to teacher has not only enriched her life but has also left an indelible impact on those she teaches. Many of her students credit Wallace with sparking their love of the athletic art form of dance. “On my last day teaching [of the season], one of my students said that they want to be a dance teacher just like me. [That made me feel] like I accomplished something. And like I had influenced a lot of young minds,” Wallace said.

Wallace, the Sandy High School junior turned dance teacher, is a shining example of how passion, dedication and a love for the arts can transcend age and experience. As her students take their own steps into the world of dance, they carry with them the invaluable lessons learned from their young mentor, ensuring that Wallace’s legacy will continue to resonate for years to come.
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