It took almost two decades, but Tiffany Tindall landed her perfect job.
Tindall was hired by the Bartow County School System in May to replace retiring Terri Kayser as the dance teacher at Woodland High School.
"I am excited to join the Woodland family and get to share my love of dance with my students," said Tindall, whose first day on the job was Wednesday. "There are so many benefits to dance education for our students, and it is a blessing to serve my community in this capacity. Seventeen years ago when I returned to Cartersville after living in Cobb County for a few years, I knew that the dance education position was the only one of its kind in our county. I said then that it would be my dream job."
Name: Tiffany Tindall
Occupational title: Dance teacher at Woodland High School
City of residence: Cartersville
Education: 1996 graduate of Cass High School, 2000 graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Education in dance education, 2005 graduate of Jacksonville State University with a Master of Education in educational administration, 2007 graduate of Jacksonville State University with a education specialist degree in educational administration
Family: Husband, Jeff Tindall, managing director of Agile Innovations and OnePoint Rewards; daughter, Elyse Tindall, 12, and in seventh grade; and son, Jacob Tindall, 7, and in second grade
The Daily Tribune News (DTN): What styles of dance will you be teaching there, and why were these styles chosen?
Tiffany Tindall (TT): I will give students instruction in a wide variety of dance genres to give them a wide variety of experience so that they are prepared to dance confidently in whatever avenue or performance they choose to participate in. I’ll focus on ballet, as it provides the necessary foundation and technique for all other genres. I’ll also teach modern/contemporary classes, which will span from early modern techniques to the more free-flowing contemporary style popular today. I’ll teach dance geared toward musical theater to prepare them to participate in CATS [Woodland’s Cartersville Artistic Talent Showcase team] if that is their wish. I like to focus on instruction of anatomy and kinesiology as it pertains to dance and the way their body moves. This will help them with injury prevention and increase their longevity in the artform. We will also spend time studying dance composition and choreography, and students will have opportunities to create their own works for student showcases.
DTN: Where else have you taught dance, how long were you at each and what styles did you teach?
TT: I have been teaching dance in some form for about 25 years. Since I graduated with a degree in dance education from the University of Georgia in 2000, I have started three dance programs in the Cobb County School District, helped create the state standards for dance education, become active in the National Dance Educators Organization to advocate for the introduction of dance into public schools, taught dance at Reinhardt University and most recently taught privately at Steps of Faith Dance Studio here in Cartersville. My first love is ballet, and I feel that it is a great foundation for most dances. Instructionally, I teach a wide variety of dances including modern, jazz and social dances. When teaching general dance classes in the public schools, I really enjoyed sharing social dances from around the world with my students. In addition to the physical activity, it also gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture.
DTN: What do you enjoy most about being a dance teacher and why, and what do you like least about it and why?
TT: I love watching the students grow in their confidence and their abilities. It is a great opportunity to show them how effort and determination can pay off over time. As with many professions, there are some things that are less enjoyable. In my case, conversations about deodorant, hygiene and nuances of appropriate dance attire are towards the top of that list.
DTN: When did you start dancing, and how did you get interested in it?
TT: I have been dancing ever since I was 2 years old, and I’ve never really stopped. I always knew I wanted to dance, and as I got older, I knew I wanted specifically to teach. I began teaching with my studio at 16 as an assistant and have continued to teach in some capacity ever since.
DTN: What has been the most memorable thing that has happened to you during your dance career?
TT: I had a student my third and fourth year of teaching in Cobb County that made a lasting impact on me. He came into my class on the first day of school, picked up a desk and threw it at another student. At that time, I was furious and called campus security to come and remove him. He was suspended, and when he returned, I excused him from the class assignment that day. His assignment was to explain to me why he would want to treat another person that way. For the next 40 minutes, he sits at my desk and tells me about his life. His dad was in jail; his older brother was in a gang and was trying to recruit him; his stepmother was out of the picture most of the time; and he was being a father to his two younger siblings. He struggled in every way a child could, and he was angry. After listening to him, at the end of his conversation, my mind was made up to do whatever it took to help him. This kid wasn’t “bad.” He was living in an impossible situation with too much responsibility on his young shoulders. After that, I checked in with him every day. I never had another minute of trouble out of him, and he would often ask to bring his work to my room to avoid trouble in his other classes. He opted to be in my room most of the time, and I was OK with it because I could provide a safe space for him to breathe and be successful. I cared about his well-being and success, and he knew it. He wasn’t what his label called him; he didn’t have a behavior disorder. He was doing his best to cope with what life had handed him. I still think of him often and pray that he has found his way to a happy and healthy life.
DTN: How many years and in what ways have you participated in Dances With the Stars, and why did you want to get involved with it?
TT: I have participated in Dances with the Stars for the last five years, the first four years as a performer and the last year as a choreographer. My husband and I see the effects of homelessness firsthand in our work with the Red Door Food Pantry at our church, Cartersville Episcopal Church of the Ascension. I am blessed to be able to use the gift that God has given me to help others through the Dances with the Stars event.
DTN: What would the title of your autobiography be and why?
TT: “Find Your Spot.” In ballet, “spotting” is a technique to maintain orientation and reduce dizziness while completing turns called pirouettes. We all want our lives to appear beautiful, but we cannot lose focus on what is important. I select what is important to focus on and return my focus to it anytime I am pulled away, which happens a lot as a mom of two. This can apply to my career, my family and my faith.
DTN: How would you describe yourself in three words?
TT: Focused dance mom
DTN: If you could visit any period or event in the past, what would you choose and why?
TT: Last year, we got to do a family vacation to Egypt and visit the Great Pyramids of Giza. It was an absolutely amazing trip, and I would love the opportunity to witness how the Egyptians built the pyramids.
DTN: If you could have dinner with any historical figure or celebrity, past or present, who would you pick and why?
TT: I would love to have dinner with Martha Graham. I’d have a million questions to ask her about her experience, her life, her company and her relationships with other well-known dancers of the time like Ruth St. Dennis and Ted Shawn. I think in that conversation, there definitely wouldn’t be a dull moment.
DTN: Do you have a bucket list, and if so, what is the one thing you most look forward to accomplishing?
TT: I love to travel and have many places that I want to visit. Among the top contenders is a trip to Thailand to scuba dive in the freshwater lake with jellyfish that can’t sting. That will be an amazing day.
DTN: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
TT: I have slid down a natural waterslide and stood with one foot on each side of the international date line while on vacation in Fiji in 2007. I also am a certified scuba diver with several certifications, including Introduction to Cave Diving training.
DTN: Who is your favorite dancer of all time, and why is he/she your favorite?
TT: This question I find particularly challenging, but if I have to pick one, it would have to be Martha Graham. Considered by many to be the “mother of modern dance,” she rejected the rigidity of ballet and opted for dance that was more focused on expression and storytelling. Her technique didn’t focus on making dance pretty just for the sake of aesthetic appeal. Her movement was twisted, gut-wrenching, angled and, at times, bursting with joy. She was an amazingly interesting person who created dance that fit her style after being told that she wasn’t built to be a ballerina. I respect her grit, perseverance and ability to push forward to create a technique and company that has outlived her.