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Dancing with Discipline


Teacher article


Dance Teachers

In a world that is often filled with chaos and uncertainty, ballet class brings structure and accountability into life. More often than not, a child who has grown up with ballet establishes the key principles in her value system that lead to success; much of that begins with discipline in her foundation.

Discipline, as defined, “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior” may sound rigid or off-putting. However, I’ve always been a firm believer that one must learn the rules, before she can break them, and this I believe to be very true in the dance setting.

When a teacher leads a class, the tone is set by her. The way she speaks, the way she interacts, the way she inspires. Every moment that is spent in front of a room of students is an opportunity to help them learn to think, grow and thrive. Discipline in the weekly classroom, where expectations are set and demanded, will later, transfer into individuals who are capable of being self-disciplined in their choices outside of the classroom. Discipline is taught. Discipline is setting the example.

More and more children are being encouraged to feel and think outside of the box. To be empowered by their own greatness. The truth is, many of us grew up with empowerment because we had teachers who demanded we work hard in a very disciplined environment, ballet class.

I believe in accountability. It makes students learn that their outcomes are a result of their actions. Not everyone is capable of hard work equating to a professional ballet career, but everyone is capable of hard work making them better. I believe in structure. Especially when young, children need consistency. As a child, showing up to a class where a devoted individual awaits to help you learn and grow, is a gift. I believe in discipline. The world is filled with rules. Learning early in a class setting by way of an art that has been formulated around cognitive and physical rules is indeed, empowering.

In life, as adults, we often goal set. When we reach an accomplishment, it feels great. When we meet one goal, we set another. That is the ballet classroom. That is exactly what ballet does. It’s little daily goals that one constantly strives toward. That is discipline. It wouldn’t be possible to set a goal and meet it without having to discipline oneself in such a way to make the goal attainable.

Then, when it comes time to think outside the box, to achieve one’s own greatness, to think, create and form original ideas and opinions, to create art; one can move forward with confidence, because she put in the work.

I believe in discipline for children and all that it has to offer. I know that the benefits of ballet go far beyond the physical and the cognitive. When I teach, I keep these things in mind. It’s the daily simple tasks of greeting your teacher when you enter a room, being respectful of classmates as they take their turn across the floor, being mindful of your body language. These are the gifts of ballet that will serve one well for the rest of her life.


Laura Ward-Moran

Laura Ward-Moran

LAURA WARD-MORAN is the owner of Harford Premier Pilates, LLC and the director of the John Carroll School College Preparatory Dance Program and the John Carroll Ballet Academy. A dancer, choreographer, Pilates Instructor, and educator, she earned her BA in Dance Education from Goucher College in 1999. With 20+ years teaching experience, she has taught for many schools throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania as faculty and guest artist. Her involvement with dance education goes beyond the classroom, as she has been invited as a consultant to write dance curriculum as well as has implement dance programs in public and private high schools; most recently she implemented the College Preparatory Dance Program at the John Carroll School. Mrs. Ward-Moran received her certification as an Authentic Pilates Instructor in New York, NY, in 2001, and is a level V+ certified authentic Pilates instructor through Romana’s Pilates, New York, NY. For six years she had the pleasure of teaching Pilates in the Dance Department at Goucher College, and she became the Assistant Director of the Pilates Center, prior to opening her own Pilates studio in Harford County in 2005. In addition, she also spent a valuable summer in Dallas, Texas at Southern Methodist University where she obtained her Fundamentals Certificate in the Language of Dance (Motif), as developed by Ann Hutchinson Guest, and she enjoyed studying closely with LOD instructor, Tina Curran. In 2018, Mrs. Ward-Moran received her certification in Progressing Ballet Technique, a fitness program to help dancers achieve their technical goals. Her work in Harford County has been extensive. In July 2001, she opened The Maryland School of Ballet and Modern Dance, Inc. where for 15 years she successfully built and grew a dance program for children and adults producing 29 original ballets and modern dance concerts through her school and company, The Maryland Dance Project. In 2016 she successfully executed the sale of her school. Now, as a guest instructor, she continues to teach dance and Pilates, as well as choreograph throughout the region. Mrs. Ward-Moran has contributed to her community as a panelist, guest speaker, volunteer and columnist with regard to dance, education, and business. Most recently, she was appointed to serve as a board member for the Harford County Cultural Arts Advisory Board. Prior, she was interviewed by Lisa Okuhn, for an article in Dance Studio Life Magazine about the importance of Mission Statements. She is a member of the NDEO, the Maryland Dance Council, and the sponsor for the JCS NHSDA Chapter. Contact info: Mrs. Laura Ward-Moran College Preparatory Dance Program, Director Ballet Academy, Director

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