From Dexter to Vienna: dance is a universal language


The love of dance made Valerie Stead Potsos travel the world.

Potsos, who is head coach of the University of Michigan dance team and owner of Dancer’s Edge at Dexter, recently traveled to Vienna, Austria to teach Viking dance teams in Vienna.

She was joined by Joan Noble Pruett, assistant coach of the University of Michigan dance team and Flag and Winterguard instructor for the Michigan Marching Band, and Judy Rice – dance teacher in the School of Music, University of Michigan theater and dance.

The Vienna Vikings are a Vienna-based American football team and take inspiration from the Minnesota Vikings NFL team.

“Dance is a universal language,” said Potsos. “Even though we didn’t speak German, the students understood what we were saying.

photo courtesy of Valerie Stead Potsos

This is her third trip after they contacted her a few years ago to choreograph for them. On her second trip she included Pruett and for the recent third trip she included Rice.

The objectives were to work on the choreography with their senior team (high school and college students) as well as to work with the younger teams. They focused on ballet, technique (jumps, jumps, turns), skill development and teacher training.

During their stay in Vienna, they taught every evening from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“During the day we were discussing our philosophies and teaching methods and how we should adjust them for these dancers,” Potsos said, looking back. “As teachers, we have strengthened our pedagogical knowledge so that we can pass these ideas on to our dancers in the United States! “

In the future, Potsos hopes to build on these trips and connections.

“We hope to continue to forge international relationships to help our dancers and our dance community grow, learn and connect! ” she said.

photo courtesy of Valerie Stead Potsos

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