Veneshia Stribling, Westwood HS Dance Teacher
WRITTEN BY: ANGIE SELLERS & SARAH COOPER
Veneshia Stribling is the dance teacher at Westwood High School and works with Fairfield Central High School’s marching band.She started dancing when her mom signed her up for a class and second grade, and she loved it from the beginning. She started with jazz and praise dance then her passion evolved toward different genres such as ballet in college. In tenth grade she earned an apprenticeship with Vibrations Dance Company. Her senior year of high school, she enrolled in the first dance school offered in District 2. Her teacher introduced the history of dance in addition to showing innovative ways to choreograph dance numbers. This instructor inspired Veneshia to teach and told her about the Columbia College Scholarship Auditions. Veneshia received the scholarship and achieved a degree in dance education. After graduation, she started the first elementary dance program in District 2 and stayed with the program for nine years before coming to Westwood High where she is currently on her fourth year of leading the dance program. In addition to the Westwood program, she has been working with the Fairfield Central High School Marching Band for the past five years. At both locations she works on the students’ technique, costuming and dance etiquette. Her goal is to give students without classical dance training the skills to work with experienced dancers and exceed their expectations. Her drive is to provide her students with the resources and confidence necessary to reach their goals.
Q&A with our Fit Feature
What is your favorite dance genre?
It is very difficult to decide, but my favorite genre would have to be Latin dance followed by contemporary, jazz and hip–hop. Latin dance isn’t just fun to teach; it is fun to do! I love how contemporary provides so many varying aspects within the style. I love how jazz dance is so fun, sassy and presentational.
What is your favorite dance move?
I love a good jazz walk! I credit Terence Henderson of Vibrations Dance Company for instilling my love for the jazz walk. I teach all of my students how to work a jazz walk.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
What free time? When I do have some time to myself, I enjoy sleeping, eating everything (I don’t meal plan), and pampering myself through personal beautification.
What is your favorite food?
I love crab legs and butter!
What is your current goal?
My main goal is to learn to say “no.” I will end up committing to too many things and burning out, especially since I put 100% effort into everything I do.
Notes from Sarah:
I had a good feeling about Veneshia before even walking into her classroom. The student escorting me through Westwood referred to Veneshia as the best teacher in the district. She provides a positive environment for her students and instills a professional quality into their demeanor. They all willingly applied corrections and performed every time their practiced a dance number rather than just going through the movements. I genuinely wish my high school had a program like Veneshia’s at Westwood High School.