RAD USA Featured Member
Meet: Tanya Keller
Tanya Keller is an RAD Registered Teacher and graduate of both the RAD’s BA (Hons) Dance Education and the Masters of Arts in Education (Dance Teaching) programs. She currently resides in China where she teaches ballet.
What drew you to the RAD’s Masters of Arts in Education (Dance Teaching) program?
“When I retired from my professional career, I, like many other dancers, turned to teaching and eventually opened my own private studio. While I knew the technical components of ballet and how to teach them, what I didn’t know was how to manage my classroom, plan lessons, and communicate with the parents. I was initially drawn to the Royal Academy of Dance because I needed a syllabus with clearly defined learning outcomes and assessments upon which I could level my students as well as demonstrate a dancer’s progression throughout their training to parents. I had an Associate’s degree in ballet, and after researching the RAD certifications, I entered the BA Hons in Dance Education program, which culminated with my graduation and earning my RAD RTS. My experience in the BA Hons program was enlightening and I knew I wanted to learn more. When the RAD Masters program was announced, I decided to apply and I am very happy that I pursued the RAD Masters program. My teaching practice has benefited from the knowledge and skills I have received from the program sending me on a lifelong quest to learn as much as I can about how to be an effective teacher. Currently, I am in the PhD Dance cohort at Texas Woman’s University, where I have achieved PhD ABD status.”
How did you come to teach in China?
“In 2015, I applied for a job in China offered on the RAD Job Search website. I had made a promise to myself when I began studying with the RAD that I would someday teach internationally. From time to time, I would look at the website and if a job caught my attention, I would apply. Fortunately, this time, one of my RAD Masters program classmates was already working in Shenzhen, and after a long discussion with her, my whole family and I decided to move to China. You could probably say that I am living and working in China because of the RAD Masters program!”
How long have you been teaching there and what has that experience been like for you?
“My family and I are currently in our 4th year of living in China. My daughter, Beverly, who is currently enrolled in the RAD CBTS program, works with me at Sufei International Ballet, the largest ballet school in Shenzhen, with 9 campuses and over 1200 students. There have been many difficult and frustrating moments living and working in a foreign country, but we consider ourselves very fortunate to teach what we love in China…Teaching here has only enhanced our teaching practice. We have overcome language barriers and translation issues, conflicting cultural and educational expectations, and homesickness and come out the other side knowing we have grown as teachers. And to be exceptional teachers, we must never stop learning!”