"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." Walter Elliott
Some dancers choose dance education as a backup plan. If their career doesn’t take off they figure they’ll teach. Or they teach while waiting for that big break. For Megan Namnama, dance education was not a backup plan. It’s what she was meant to do.
Megan is the epitome of perseverance. As a dance educator with Newark Public Schools, she has seen many setbacks and triumphs in her short career. I had the pleasure of hosting Megan as a student teacher in her senior year of college. I knew she would make a phenomenal teacher.
Megan graduated with a degree in dance education from Montclair State University. After high school, Montclair’s dance department seemed like a natural progression. Megan had danced in studios, tried many different forms of dance as well as music and basketball but dance was her true love. In her senior year of high school, she auditioned for the MSU dance department but surprisingly was not accepted. She entered MSU that fall as an undeclared major determined to pursue her dream. She auditioned again in the spring and was accepted into the department. That first rejection was just the ammunition she needed to fuel her passion to teach. The experience pushed her to work harder and taught her to not take dance opportunities for granted.
Now a 1 ½ veteran with Newark Public Schools, Megan has started a dance program at Hawkins St. School. She has been able to partially fund her program through Donors Choose. Through generous donations her students have received costumes for performances and GoPro video cameras to record their creative process. She teaches her students to reach for the stars and don’t give up. In an age when many students are dealing with peer pressure and socio economic problems Megan encourages her students to be true to themselves. She wants her students to realize they don’t have to let others determine their outcome.
When I asked Megan why she danced she simply stated: “I dance because it is the love of my life and I’m good at it! My teachers passed on their love of dance to me and now I do the same. There are a lot of talented students out there with a passion to dance.”