There’s nothing that makes Alma Mercado happier than getting to help kids and motivate them to be better individuals. “You learn so much from them!” she said. Just 17 years old and Alma is already talking like Danceworks’ faculty who often say they get far more from their students then they could ever give. To me, that’s a sign of a good teacher. Good teaching is about connecting.
Back in 2008, Alma was an MPS 6th grader, a Mad Hot Ballroom student and a competition winner. When I asked her if the program had a lasting impact on her she said, “My personality grew. My self-esteem grew and people began to see who I am now.”
It doesn’t take long to notice—Alma exudes confidence, has a great sense of humor and loves kids. She volunteered for the Mad Hot Competition last year and said it brought back a lot of great memories. “I remembered how excited I was to dance. It got into my heart–seeing the kids and seeing the parents reactions.”
Her next opportunity at Danceworks came last summer. As an MPS Summer Intern, Alma helped out with our Creative Arts Camps. Following that experience, as a senior at Ronald Reagan High School, she pursued employment at Danceworks and was offered a job assisting with youth classes. She currently works alongside Danceworks faculty member Kelly Drake in youth Tap and Jazz classes.
Miss Kelly says that when Alma walks into Studio B at Danceworks on Monday evenings to assist, all the girls run to her. That’s a good sign Alma is doing what she loves. She’s funny, enthusiastic and the students love her.
When I asked Alma what she remembered most about Mad Hot she was quick to respond:
Alma: Before the program, I was really shy. Dancing in front of people helped me be a risk taker. The competition was so exciting. It was my first time at the Bradley Center. There was so much enthusiasm, so much adrenaline.
Deb: Do you remember if the program had an impact on your classroom?
Alma: We got to partner with everyone. We got to know each other and became friends. By getting to know people more I became less timid in general. The better you can communicate the more you can relate. Connection is key! That’s just me.
Wise words for a 17 year old—thanks for sharing them Alma. We wish you continued success!
Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap 10th Anniversary Competition is Saturday, May 21 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, 1001 N. 4th Street, Milwaukee. Tap competition begins at 9:30am; Ballroom competition begins at 1:30pm.
This citywide event is free and open to the public–stop by anytime during the day and be a part of the joy! #madhotmke
Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.