Dance studio owner encourages students to use God-given gifts

| August 14, 2012 | 0 Comments
Angela Mannella-Hoffman

Leading With Faith winner Angela Mannella-Hoffman. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

From the nominator“Angela is one of the kindest, most faith-filled people I know. She always has a positive attitude and a kind word for everyone. Angela runs her dance and fine arts studio as a ministry to those who enter her doors.” — Mary Walus

In her words

It’s very important for me that all of my students see their own divine grace in them. God is the ultimate creator, and we’re in a creative field here, so I feel that we’re really using what God gave us in our dancing, in our acting.

Every day I say a prayer before I come in here, and I bless the studio every day with holy water. I pray that I become a good teacher each day. I pray for my students every week when I go to Mass. Any time I go to Mass, I pray for all the people that come into the building.

I encourage the kids to be positive, I don’t allow them to say any negative things. . . . I think that’s really important because God made us all beautiful in our own ways.

We had an open house last summer and this young boy who lived across the street came in and he obviously needed some food and some caring for. So, I invited him in and talked to him. He started to come here and help out a little bit with some cleaning and things like that. . . . He was able to take free break dancing lessons. It really helped keep him out of trouble.

It was quite amazing to me because I thought I would be helping more of my students, but it was just somebody random who walked off the street. And, we had a place for him to come and learn and feel safe.

I would have to say [the late] Father [Bernard] Reiser, from the beginning of my life, has always been there for me and encouraged me. I made mistakes in life, like everybody has, but he always encouraged me and said, ‘You know, God forgives and life continues on.’

He came here to bless the space when it first opened. So, he’s always been so inspiring to me. Also, my parents just allowed me to, as a young child, do what I loved to do, which was dance and act. They were encouraging with that and I had some wonderful teachers who helped me to develop that.

We opened in [January] 2010, so it’s a young studio. I’ve been teaching forever in all sorts of different places. My husband has been so great. We found the space, and it’s close to his work. He works at Totino-Grace as the band director. (she graduated from T-G in 1994). It’s nice to be around here and I choreograph a lot for the Fridley Community Theater and for the high school.

I’m most proud of my students, just excelling and coming back each week in class and trying harder and working harder and not giving up on themselves, and having them see how beautiful they are and how it’s great to express yourself through dance or through acting or through singing.

I have some adult students. I have one woman who is 65 years old and has been too shy to sing before. She came in and started learning how to sing properly and just loves it. This whole new world has opened up to her. What I feel most proud of is that I’ve been able to help people accomplish their goals.

At a studio I used to work at, I developed a special needs program with students with Down syndrome. And then, when I came here, I really wanted to make that bigger. So, we have some adapted dance. We have some students in wheelchairs who will do arm movements and things like that. And, we have assistants who will help them dance.

We have a lot of girls with Down syndrome who are just so wonderful. They did three dances this year at recital. They did a tap, a ballet and a jazz dance just like everybody else. It’s really fun to see their parents because there’s not a lot of opportunity for them to get to do those things. They’re some of my favorite students.

Profile

Age: 36

Company: Moore Than Dance

Title: Owner/artistic director

Parish: St. Charles Borromeo, St. Anthony

Spouse: Tim Hoffman

Children: Vincent

Activities: Acting, dancing, radio and TV commercials, volunteer dance teacher, running

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Category: Leading With Faith