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South High Teacher Shares Passion for Dance and Movement

From the thrill of performing onstage, to building friendships, South High senior Marki Sandoval-Reyna has gained more than just dancing skills through the Dance & Movement Pathway.    

“Dancing has always been a fun hobby for me,” said Sandoval-Reyna. “What I love most about dancing is the friendships I’ve made and the opportunities to share my love for dance with others.” 

The Dance & Movement Pathway is part of the Performing and Fine Arts Academy, led by Danielle Laurion. She has shared her passion for dance at South High for more than 14 years. Through the program students learn a variety of dance styles, building confidence to push themselves and their movement abilities.  

“When my students leave the program, I want them to know more than how to do a triple pirouette,” said Laurion. “I want my students to feel like a self-assured young adult who can navigate the world. Dancing teaches them how to creatively problem solve, work in a group, take feedback, ask questions and advocate for themselves.”  

Laurion recently earned the PK-12 Master Dance Educator of the Year Award from the National Dance Society.  She is recognized for her work as a dancer, educator, dance/movement therapist and choreographer. Laurion specializes in using movement to address the spectrum between wellness and therapeutic needs. 

“I always felt like because I danced, I could navigate through anything life threw at me,” said Laurion. “I want others to feel that same ability to navigate their obstacles in life.” 

In addition to teaching at South High, Laurion is an adjunct instructor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, directs Reach for It, a movement therapy group for people with Parkinson’s Disease and owner of The Moving Company, a modern dance company.  

Through these affiliations, Laurion is able to connect her South High students with community opportunities, whether that be them leading a class or participating in a community dance troupe. 

Omaha Public Schools is #OPSProud to share Laurion’s work as our district celebrates National Arts in Education Week Sept. 10 – 16.