Nancy Dobbs Owen
Nancy has always been a teacher that truly believes in her students and pushes them to their fullest potential. I have never been seen as a ballerina or even have a strong love for ballet, but with Nancy’s classes being such a challenge and push for me, I began to love ballet because of how much passion Nancy has for the art form and in her teaching. After graduating Nancy attended one of my first professional dance performances and it truly warmed my heart. Not only is she a teacher and mentor in college but also outside of a classroom setting and that’s very special. Nancy Dobbs Owen is a delightful human being and teacher that truly cares about the greatness and the success of all of her students, in class and out of class.
Nancy Dobbs Owen is a passionate, inspiring, and undoubtedly committed dance educator that I’ve had the privilege of learning from for many years through classes, private coaching, and projects. I can say wholeheartedly that her infectious energy, enthusiasm, and genuine gratitude and love for her craft radiates any space you walk into, so much so that I fell back in love with the art of ballet, myself, and the world around me. It’s not merely her surplus of valuable experiences, knowledge, and artistic intelligence that make all of her classes so innately special, but rather the willingness to share such experiences in a meaningful way that goes far beyond the dance studio. There is nothing Nancy wouldn’t do to fully support a student in their personal needs and desires. She sees every student deeply and truly, listens, learns, and takes time for every individual. You will often see her dedicating time to personally connect with every student, take them aside if they are exhibiting any struggles or need extra encouragement, and truly mentor anyone and everyone. Her eyes light up with such engagement at the sight of students having breakthroughs, which only again demonstrates the fact that she is one of those rare people in this world who are meant to educate. It’s in her nature. I have witnessed many sparks reignited through Nancy’s classes when you finally see a child once again smile and enjoy the journey.
With that said, she embraces the process and all obstacles that come, often making silly jokes or words of encouragement about the fact that no one said ballet is easy.
Nancy’s classes are anything but easy. There is a level of dedication and perseverance required through every exercise, but through this, she evokes new heights of technique/artistry I didn’t think I was capable of. She exhibits so much strength and tenacity. From riding her bike through the streets of Los Angeles to teaching for hours on end with everflowing honesty and kindness, she encourages every student to take on these values and demonstrate nothing short of greatness. Nancy connects every nuanced movement with emotion, personal experiences, and fantasy, taking us into a world of imagination and play. She is truly a visionary like no other and I
am forever thankful to have been invited into new depths of creativity. It’s always a joy to see her ideas take form so beautifully.
She has been a support system, inspiration, lifelong mentor, and friend to my family and I for years. It’s an honor to write about her after she has written several recommendation letters for me when I was applying for colleges and dance programs, and been a guiding light thereafter. I’m thankful because I know I’m not the only one so touched by her. I am among a vibrant and everflowing community of people who would not be where they are today without Nancy Dobbs Owen; and that is the greatest gift of all.
Taking ballet class taught by Nancy Dobbs is always a treat! Her barre is thorough and all encompassing, focused on technique and also warming up every part of our bodies. Nancy shares a great mix of notes about technique, but also reflections on ballet as an art form. By the time we get to the center, our bodies are warm and centered, allowing the center part of class to really be about artistry and musicality while still challenging our brains and technique too. Nancy’s ballet class feels like a full mind, body, and soul experience where you can improve technique, but also strengthen a love and passion for dancing.
Nancy has been teaching me since I was 8. Almost everything I know about ballet I owe to Nancy and her extensive knowledge of the art form. I’ve learned a lot about how my body works because of her. She has an incredible way of explaining things that are not exactly tangible. For example, she has specific explanations on breathing, storytelling, and great explanations for technique like what “pulling up” truly means and how to achieve it. I always understand why I need to do something when I’m in her class and why it’s important, which is really helpful for me as a dancer.
On top of this, Nancy is one of the most supportive teachers I’ve come across. She is always being positive and constructive and it never feels like you’ve hit a wall with her, I always feel like I’m growing and changing, even when I’m getting the same notes.
Nancy has been an instrumental part in both my dance journey but also my journey as a human. Nancy was a support system for me during a deeply difficult time and continues to be a person I can trust and rely on. She’s not only one of my favorite teachers but my favorite people and I am so blessed that she is still in my life after all these years. She has helped me through difficult decisions and bad days and everything in between, and is always willing to listen if I need somebody to.
I would not be where I am today without Nancy Dobbs Owen in my life, that I am sure.
Nancy is one of the best ballet teachers I’ve had. She provides a proper warm up, barre, and challenging center. In addition to helping you improve your technique, she sprinkles in performance and expression advice. Nancy is a wonderful mentor, who genuinely cares about each and every student’s growth and success.
My name is Liv Kaplan and I am a former Hussian student now transitioning into AMDA. This is a letter in support of Nancy Dobbs Owen, the Dance Chair Mentor at Hussian College In Studio. Throughout the past two years at this school I have experienced many ups and downs in and out of school, as many students do. However, whether it was an exciting opportunity to celebrate, or being my absolute rock through the hardest times of my life, Nancy was right there with me no matter what. Aside from her incredible technical and performance expertise that pushes our school to the best of our ability, the amount Nancy cares about her students is unmatched. I have never felt so supported and comfortable than when I am under the advisory of Nancy. I feel very adamant about this mentor of mine and I speak for the remainder of my class when I say Nancy is the glue that holds the dance department together.
I first met Nancy when I attended AMDA Los Angeles in 2016. Out of the many teachers, she was the only one who really cared for me as a person and as a dancer. Throughout many obstacles in life, Nancy was there to guide me and help me get back and better than before. To this day, I still take class from her and truly believe that I have gotten this far because of what she has given me both in dance and life in general.
Nancy’s classes are my go-to recommendation for professional dancers in Los Angeles. I have been training with her since I entered this market and I have seen direct improvement to my technique, stamina, and musicality. She consistently offers excellent training to varying levels of dancers in a very inviting class. I love that she is focused on proper alignment, strength, and the longevity of our bodies as dancers preparing for long careers. Nancy’s corrections are targeted and specific, and she really notices if you’ve been working hard outside of class. I always leave class with new knowledge of my technique and so much encouragement.Nancy fosters an environment of kindness in such a demanding industry. I often come into class feeling drained, but leave very sweaty and filled back up with purpose. Nancy is interested in helping us dance alive, not just like pretty robots. She knows how to push you, call you out on a bad habit, and do it in a way that invites you in to your own growth. I feel prepared for advanced jobs, and like I have something to offer employers, because of her instruction.
Nancy Dobbs Owen was one of my professors at AMDA in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to have her as a ballet teacher as well as perform many of her pieces in school shows and productions. I found a love for Ballet through her classes; she held space for me to grow and emphasized the importance of “dancing through your barre”. She is one of the few professors I still take class from because of her incredible knowledge and care for her dancers.
Nancy Dobbs Owen is one of the most inspiring and passionate teachers I have ever had
the pleasure of learning from. I have been taking her classes for over five years and there is
always more to learn from her as she has a wide range of experience and knowledge. I leave
every class feeling challenged to be the best I can, but also encouraged for what I can already do and what I bring to the room. The type of environment that Nancy provides harbors so much
growth and positivity and makes people want to improve. She prioritizes authenticity in
movement and having a backstory or emotion behind each little detail. For example, when doing
adagio combinations, Nancy tells us to keep a story in our mind so that we have a reason to do
each step. Why are we traveling to the back? Why are we reaching towards the corner? Having
thoughts like this while dancing has made my movement much more genuine rather than just
doing a bunch of steps put together. Nancy supports her students and their artistic creations and invites them to bring in their own artistry to her class. Overall, learning from Nancy Dobbs
Owen has been one of the greatest highlights of my dance journey and I am excited to continue
being inspired by her.
(Student, Boston Conservatory)
Nancy has been such a great influence on my dance career. She continuously challenges her students whilst bringing a positive and welcoming environment to her classroom. I will always admire her dedication to both technique and quality of movement.
She provided immense support during the hardships of COVID-19. She encouraged us to find different ways to hone our skills, and gave us the ability to create things that I would have never thought possible.
Her commitment and passion towards her students’ success is unmatched. I am so thankful to have had her as my professor through my college career.
Artistic Director of Loudoun Ballet Performing Arts Company
Knowing and studying under Nancy Dobbs Owen has been pivotal to my growth as not only an artist but as an activist. Nancy is a true leader, a fearless one, who is brave enough to persevere through any obstacle. I first met Nancy my Junior year of college and quickly saw her willingness to make sure questions were answered and humans were seen. Whether she knows consciously, Nancy inspires everyone she meets to push themselves, take their time, and that anything is possible.
- Emily Fabretti, graduate of HCLA in Studio BFA COMMERCIAL DANCE
Nancy has had an immense impact on me as a dancer, teacher, artist and human. She truly shifted my perspective within ballet. I remember her talking about the space within each phrase and combination and how the timing and accents should shift with intention and with musicality. Finding so much specificity inside a combination at barre allowed me to start to create space everywhere. It helped find ways to push myself like that in any phrase. Her ability to support, encourage and challenge is something every dancer hopes for and looks for in a teacher and it has greatly impacted the way I teach. She cheers on her peers, friends and the dance community constantly and always makes you feel seen as a creative. I’m lucky to have worked so closely with her on various projects not only dance wise but inside film as well and I’m very grateful for it. She is someone I will always continue to learn from and of course take lovely ballet classes from.
My name is Cayla Shae O’Neil. Nancy Dobbs Owen has been a fantastic teacher, mentor, and program coordinator to me and to the Commercial Dance program for the past two years at what was previously Hussian College Los Angeles. Whenever I, or any other student, had a question, comment, or concern about schedules, classes, events, grades, etc, she was the first person that was emailed (as a part of the dance faculty). She not only had the answers but responded to said concerns immediately (within an hour or two) which relieved a great amount of stress during chaotic times and exemplified her dedication. As a teacher, she was knowledgeable, studious, and up to date with her information. Not only that, but she was passionate; I easily put her on my top 5 best teachers list because of this and her: attention to detail, her shared love of artistic expression, and her care for her students physical, emotional, and mental well being. Personally, she was a source of comfort and peace and is someone I would attribute my continuation of schooling to. During what had been the harshest two years of my life, Nancy gave me courage, hope, and self confidence to go after what I want in life. She is someone I look up to for all of these reasons and more and is a great resource to have in life and in a faculty setting.
I trained with Nancy my senior year of college, having her as both my dance program mentor and ballet teacher. She created such a passionate and hard working environment, with a safe space for me to learn and grow as an artist but also a human. She taught me commitment and discipline inside the studio and how to have a sense of professionalism outside of it. I love everything Nancy represents as a teacher, she has a huge heart, is so talented, and truly cares for her students and people around her.