Notable alumnus profile: barbara bernstein, A.B.

The DC Alumni Association will be recognizing notable, local alumni each month.

How on earth do you earn a living as a U of C graduate with a B.A. in Philosophical Psychology (an inter-disciplinary field in the New Collegiate Division)? Barb asked herself this question upon receiving her degree years ago, and opted to get a master's degree in Math Education, after which she began her career teaching Mathematics at a small liberal arts college. She eventually also received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Maryland, however Barb had never lost her passion for dance. (In fact, while at UChicago, she did Israeli dancing once a week at Hillel, English Country Dancing once a week upstairs at Ida Noyes, and Foreign Folk dance a couple of times weekly at Ida Noyes and at International House.) Over time, she transitioned from being an avid dance student of foreign folk dance and ballroom while being a math teacher, to being a full-time professional dancer who runs a Latin Dance Company.


Does Math to Dance seem like a big jump? Not as much as you might think; Barb believes that teaching Math and teaching Dance have much more in common than meets the eye. Both are subjects that some people are uncomfortable with, and the first order of business for learning is to relax and be comfortable making mistakes.  No one learns much if they worry about making errors, so the first task is to recognize that mistakes will be made and should be appreciated for what they are: wonderful learning tools! At Barb’s classes, the laughter and easy going work on rhythm and technique is all part of the fun—as students at all levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) learn from their teachers.

 

Barb began her dance company (DanceInTime.com) 17 years ago. Since then, the compnay has produced shows for the Kennedy Center, the Verizon Center, the DC Convention Center, World Bank Red Carpet Galas, the Washington Nationals Baseball Park, government offices & other venues. The company has performed and/or taught in DC, Miami, Puerto Rico, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, London, Vancouver, Dublin, etc. They've run workshops, bootcamps, and Latin Nights as well as programs for Hispanic Heritage, Women's History Month, and countless parties and events. In addition, DanceInTime offers innovative team building programs that use Salsa dancing. For example, DanceInTime taught Salsa to the Baltimore Ravens' cheer squad for a team building activity! The group has run fun, "Dancing with the Stars" programs---including teaching Latin dance steps to local celebrities (such as ABC's popular TV Weatherman, Brian Van de Graaff). The dance company was featured on the Fox Morning News in both DC & Baltimore, on Telemundo shows, the ABC News in DC, and a Voice of America TV News channel. They have also been featured in the Washington Post's Weekend Section and other news articles.   

Barb continues to be an educator and has taught Latin dance (credit and non-credit classes) at the University of Maryland, George Washington University, George Mason University, Prince Georges Community College, American University, Montgomery College, and the Peabody Institute for Music. She has been invited to judge dance competitions for teens, adults, and professional dancers. Most importantly, Barb loves to teach all levels of dancers. She produced a CD on Rhythm and Timing to help students dance to the beat, and has produced a short documentary film on the worldwide popularity of Cuban Salsa dancing. Barb also runs educational dance programs such as Hispanic Heritage Month events!  


For those who are interested, here is an instructional Salsa video of basic moves:  https://youtu.be/0uDm8Tu8kCg and for information on classes in the DC metro area, visit:  http://www.danceintime.com/classes/