Well.....I thought it was about time to introduce myself to you in THE SPACE, since you see me and read my words here as Editor in Chief and Head Contributor on the DTW Blog week after week! So... now you can get to know me a little, see how I “tick” as a choreographer and teacher & discover what inspires me so I can help continue to inspire you!

See you in the Studio,



Name: Jessica Rizzo-Stafford                                                     

Current role/Position: Dancer. Teacher. Choreographer. DTW Blog Editor in Chief, Article Contributor, faculty member of DanceTeacherWeb.com

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Training/background: BFA Dance Performance from 5 College Dance Department at University of Massachusetts Amherst. MA in K-12 Dance Education/Certification and Higher Education & the Professions from NYU. Broadway Dance Center, Steps, Joffrey Ballet, etc.

Inspiration (s): Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Alessandra Ferri, Isadora Duncan. Art/Photography. Poetry. Experience. Life.

Dream teacher (past or present) Why? Jerome Robbins. To be taught West Side choreography from the master himself would be an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience.

Most memorable learning moment: When my college ballet professor told me I would never be a professional ballet dancer; that I would definitely dance and have a wonderful professional career, but to change gears because the ballet world was not meant for me. Thanks Ken Lipitz. You were right!

Lessons I’m still learning: How getting my point across is more receptive when fed with a spoonful of sugar. My impact as a teacher.

My area of strength: My ability to connect with my students.

My area of improvement: Patience.

10 words or less-Advice for THE aspiring dancer: Dance from the inside-out.

10 words or less-Advice for THE dance teacher: Lead by example. Set the bar high. Walk the walk.

10 words or less- advice for THE studio owner: Trust your gut. Hire the most talented & eclectic faculty.

Motivational one-liner for choreographers: Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Create what moves you.

My suggested music playlist for class: Be eclectic. A little Sigur Ross, a little Nico Mulhy, a little Zoe Keating, a little Bach, a little Ella Fitzgerald, a little Joplin, a little bit show-tunes & little bit of Maroon 5, The Police, Cold Play & Hall & Oates for good measure. Some fierce acoustic female artists don’t hurt either. Go with your mood & what you think your students need that day.

The ideal dance space should…… Feel as light, airy and breathy as you want to feel when you move.