Tony Azzaro



Two young men in a dance studio, one standing casually, the other mid-move

Tony Azzaro, studio director of Freestyle Dance Academy. Photo by Kristine Byun

As an arts educator (dance) I am impacted by the arts everyday. I do all I can to make sure that every child and adult that come through the door at Freestyle Dance Academy—or experience us at a performance, workshop, or other event—walks away with respect for, and excitement and enjoyment of dance. As dance teachers, we are not only responsible for creating the next generation of artists, but also the next generation of audience members to support the work of those artists. It is a shame that the arts have less funding and exposure in the schools, and it is becoming harder to engage children through the arts.

The arts, not just dance, are incredible tools to help a child grow into a future leader. As a dance teacher, to watch a child's ideas of creativity, responsibility, commitment, and determination blossom is something that can't be compared to any other experience. While not all may go on to be a performer, teacher, or arts contributor, the skills learned in the arts will allow them to be successful on any front. Is not creativity the true skill that changes the world? Would the mobile phone, open-heart surgery, Google, or M&Ms exist if someone had not first created the idea in their head? Nothing can be reality without first being an idea. To watch the future innovators of the world grow up in an arts class is something priceless.

A short clip from Freestyle Dance Academy’s Bboy & Bgirl performance at Artistry Unfolded 2015. Courtesy of Freestyle Dance Academy and Project Moshen Dance Company