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 BE, DO, HAVE...

 

A teacher once told me, “Do what you love, and the rest will work itself out.”  I have lived by this motto my whole life and could not be more fulfilled.  As cliché as it may sound, you really only live once, and I want to live full-force! In my case, that means constantly incorporating my passion for performing and my joy in teaching into whatever I do.  If, at the end of the day, I know that I have done something that creates a positive change (no matter how minute it may be), then I am living my purpose.

 

While I was in Los Angeles pursuing a career in acting, I immediately realized how much more I needed beyond just “booking a job” or having celebrity.  I was desperate for something to nourish the tenacity required to live the audition routine.  Something bigger than just me; I not only wanted to affect people inside of a role, but outside as well.  I soon found teaching to be the perfect vehicle to satiate this desire.

 

Dance instruction was the first step of enacting my realization.  My students, ranging from ages five to seventy-five, always bless me with unique life lessons.  Kids?  What can I say?  Children change my life; they touch my heart and teach my soul.  Each child has a magnificence, an unadulterated potential, that I make my goal to help him/her achieve.  In turn, a child’s wonder and innocence replenish my spirit and remind me that it is never “too late.”  I thrive on parlaying this sentiment to my adult students and in helping to reignite any hidden or buried dreams.*

 

*Sister Alice Marie Quinn, an elderly nun—make that a tap dancing nun—was the perfect example!  Sister founded and ran St. Vincent's Meals-on-Wheels program in Los Angeles (she is quite famous!); she had wanted to tap dance her whole life and never thought she could, due to various health considerations.  Well, upon hearing her story, I just couldn’t agree with that outcome.  I designed a special tap class for Sister and some of her adorable high-society peers (who tapped in pearls!) on Friday afternoons.  We had recitals that drew in crowds like you wouldn’t believe and resulted with not too many dry eyes in the house.  Sadly, Sister passed away June 2017; the years I had with her and these Friday tap women, laughing, tapping and loving, will be with me forever.  Whenever I am in a tough situation, I just think of Sister Alice Marie, in her habit, tapping her heart out.  Thank God for Sister.*

 

Academic tutoring comprised another stalwart branch of my teaching tree.  I often refer to my college days at Stanford University as my “academic candy.”  I knew very well that after graduating (with a degree in American Studies) I would move to LA to pursue the arts. If you can imagine my father’s initial dismay, “I paid the exorbitant Stanford tuition so you can do WHAT?”  At the end of my senior year, as my peers toasted with rounds of, “I got a job with Goldman-Sachs!” I clinked back with, “I am going to be a Broke-Struggling-Actress!”  It then dawned upon me.  Why couldn’t I utilize my education in LA?  Even more perfect, why couldn’t I combine it with my joy of teaching?  So, instead of waiting tables between acting jobs, I began academic tutoring.  This venture not only exercised my mind, but also challenged me to give learning a face lift, or find unique ways to make learning fun.  I am a people person; I teach personally and I personally teach.  Hence, I constructed teaching methods, specific to the personality of each student, which most effectively produced results.  Mentoring adolescents became a new part of my mission; I love motivating youth to find their forte and flourish.  My client list grew by word of mouth and soon blossomed into a small side business.  As a bonus, many of these students and their families also became lifelong friends.  
   

After nine years of living in Los Angeles, I was given the best gift of my life.  Ilja Bedner, now my husband, unexpectedly came into my world and became the best friend with whom I can share all my dreams and passions.  As Silicon Valley is Ilja’s “Hollywood,” I made the move back up to the Bay area in July 2006, excited to carve a new path for my life journey.  Since that time, I have implemented my dance program in various schools in the Bay area, teach adult classes and private lessons, and work with an SF agent for acting/commercial work.  And I now find myself happier than ever--Ilja and I welcomed our first son, Indra Augustin Bedner, on May 5, 2010, and our second son, Bodhi Milan Bedner on October 17, 2012!  I am so thankful and so inspired to continue living my purpose...

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