The Southerner

New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

Nair+watches+and+takes+notes+on+Company+2+dancers+Bela+Toscani%2C+Natashia+Otiso%2C+Shyanna+Bourasa+and+Quinn+Williams+as+they+rehearse+their+choreography+for+the+dance+program%E2%80%99s+December+14+and+15th+performances.
Nair watches and takes notes on Company 2 dancers Bela Toscani, Natashia Otiso, Shyanna Bourasa and Quinn Williams as they rehearse their choreography for the dance program’s December 14 and 15th performances.

Nair watches and takes notes on Company 2 dancers Bela Toscani, Natashia Otiso, Shyanna Bourasa and Quinn Williams as they rehearse their choreography for the dance program’s December 14 and 15th performances.

Siobhan Sullivan

Siobhan Sullivan

Nair watches and takes notes on Company 2 dancers Bela Toscani, Natashia Otiso, Shyanna Bourasa and Quinn Williams as they rehearse their choreography for the dance program’s December 14 and 15th performances.

Siobhan Sullivan, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






South dance and theater programs welcomed a new dance teacher this year; Nancy Nair. Nair teaches Dance 1, Dance 2, Company 1, and Company 2 classes, along with choreographing for theater after school. “I absolutely love Ms. Nair, she is super supportive, [and] this is obviously a new environment but she’s come into it super professionally. She understands us, and there is a sense of us inside of her…She’s really good at balancing what she wants with what we want,” said junior and dance company 2 student Jessica Anderson.

Nair came to South from Folwell Middle School and has been a dancer since childhood. Beginning in ballet, progressing to modern dance, and then theater improvisation, Nair moved to New York to complete college, after which she taught ballet in New York for 10 years. Eventually Nair moved back to Minneapolis and choreographed for the Children’s Theater, until getting back into teaching dance and theater to middle schoolers at Folwell.

Now at South, Nair teaches only dance, compared to her job at Folwell where she taught both dance and theater. Nair said it feel like home to come back to Minneapolis to work with high schoolers again. “I love working with teenagers, thats definitely my most favorite age to teach. I started teaching this age in New york when I first started teaching in my 20’s… so it just feels like coming home to be back with high school age.”

Nair feels a very strong connection to South and the community here. “The south community for me is home, because I have students from Folwell that are here, I have students from the Children’s Theater where I’ve taught who are here, I have my kids’ friends from Seward who are here, and I have friends who are on the staff here, I just already feel really a part of this community.” Nair continued, “I love the values of social justice that are here, that’s kind of at the core of why I do what I do, and so there’s a deep sense of purpose in me connecting with South’s values.”

Dance at South is deeply rooted in social justice, and each piece is created by students based on the issues they face in society. Taking part in things like last year’s first annual spoken word performance, dance students created pieces about sexual assault, racism, police brutality and much more to address everyday issues they have to face in our society. Nair explained, “For me it comes down to social meaning what matters to our community, like what do we care about, so I’m trying to listen to the kids’ experiences and have them bring forth their concerns that are coming out of their daily life struggles. You know, what are they fighting for in their lives, what matters to them in terms of social justice issues”.

Anderson later continued, “She’s just really good at making sure that everyone is being heard. Dance is about being challenged but she’s really good at incorporating our ideas and going beyond just what she thinks and making sure that it’s a community, making sure that dance is a space where everyone has a voice.”

Nair believes that studying the history of dance styles really helps students connect to their past and become more motivated to make a change for the future. For example, Company 2 is currently working on their swing night performance and learning about the history of swing dance. Swing dancing was a style created during the Harlem Renaissance by African Americans, and as Nair explained, knowing this history helps dance students connect to the styles they perform and feel them on a much deeper level.

Later on Nair noted that her and Erin Brown (who was the former South dance teacher) are very good friends and still stay close in touch. “I’m really trying to keep Erin’s program going; I’m trying to keep her whole structure this year the same and I’m just trying to connect with my students and figure out what their goals are in dance so that then next year, I can start to make some changes that are more conducive to my own artistry.

Nair continues; “By the end of the year, students will have learned every major style of dance and feel more comfortable in their own personal dance style. “I really want people to find their own sense of expression through movement, and out of that comes performance and choreography and even technique building.”

Overall, Nair says she’s had a great experience at South so far. “It’s been super exciting. I feel inspired by my students in a way that I probably never have been. I feel like my students bring so much to me everyday. They just bring energy, they bring ideas, they bring enthusiasm and they have a high standard for what they want, and so that makes me reach much higher.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

We appreciate all of our readers who would like to interact with the articles we post. We ask that you keep comments relevant, respectful, constructive, and helpful to our staff. We also ask that you refrain from using profanity in your comment. We reserve the right to reject comments that don’t follow our community and comment guidelines. If you notice an error in an article, you may leave a comment with an email address attached. Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out our content!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Get your hands on handmade South fashion

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Teachers moonlight as musicians outside the classroom

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Do video games promote negative behavior?

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Art and stress are a classy couple

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    South artists show their talent at Viva City

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Sexual Harassment allegations “muddy the waters” around Sherman Alexie

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    From Somalia to the stage: South teacher brings immigrant story to life

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Tattooed teachers leave their mark on students

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    Dead wasps to Yu-Gi-Oh: Student collections offer new views on an old trade.

  • New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students

    A & E

    The Garage sets the stage for young bands

The South High School student news site
New dance teacher brings insight and inspiration to South students