Lisa Gibbs, Coordinator of Dance at Samford University, has danced since the age of 10, mostly ballet and modern, and holds the art close to her heart.
“I wanted to be Nadia Comaneci,” Gibbs says.
That is the reason she took a ballet class for gymnasts as a young child. She continued to dance, dancing with professional companies, as she grew older.
“I worked with the Alabama Ballet; I was in the Corps de Ballet when Wes Chapman first came in ‘96,” Gibbs says. “I performed in their Nutcracker and their Cinderella, and took classes with them,” she says, “but at that point in time I was also dancing with Southern Dance Works, which is a modern company.”
Gibbs has always tried to take some sort of ballet class and only recently stopped within the past two years.
“I’ve always taken ballet classes, though. I used to get to take company class; Roger (Van Fleteren, Associate Artistic Director at the Alabama Ballet) still lets me take company class, but I’m not in that shape anymore,” she says.
Gibbs is in school at The University of Alabama, getting her doctorate in higher education and is also taking online courses through the National Dance Education Organization. Her ultimate goal is to get a dance educator certificate, so she can create a dance major at Samford. She wants to be able to provide students with a unique dance education program that will teach them crucial information that will benefit them when they graduate, all while indulging their passion for dance.
“I’m leaning towards having it be a dance education degree, as opposed to a performance and choreography degree, which is what most dance majors are in nearly all schools,” Gibbs says. “I think dance education is a good thing. Education is a good back up, and it’s important.”
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Johnson