Inspired Artist: Susan Epstein
With a knack for making connections and a talent for business, my longtime friend Susan Epstein is making BIG things happen in the dance industry.
For as long as I’ve known her, Susan has had a vision for the dance community that never fails to inspire me to want to do MORE!
Let me explain.
Susan and I first met about eight years ago, when she was working for Curtain Call Costumes and I had just founded More Than Just Great Dancing!®. We were hosting our first Studio Owner University® and I interviewed with Susan to see if it would be a good fit for Curtain Call to attend and sponsor. It turned out to be the start of a BEAUTIFUL partnership we enjoy with Curtain Call that continues to this day.
Since then, Susan and I have kept in touch, and I’ve continued to follow her journey in awe.
Susan is now the Producing Director of Group Study at Gibney Dance in New York City, and among the many other projects she leads, she coordinates the College and Career Fair for the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.
Let me just say that I consider Susan to be THE stalwart supporter of bridging the gap between the dance studio world and the academic world, and this is what inspires me so much: It’s like she can see into the future, almost as if she can visualize what our students need before they even know they need it!
Take her position at Gibney Dance, for example.
Through Susan’s vision, the Group Study program offerings include an array of customizable classes and workshops, all designed to give high school and college students the opportunity to go deeper into their dance education. Our students at MDU have traveled to Gibney for this very reason … to illuminate the broader dance world and spark confidence in the possibilities that await them.
Similarly, at the College and Career Fair for CNADM, Susan has created an environment that both inspires and educates dancers and their parents. In addition to audition classes for various college dance programs, there are discussion panels to open up conversations about admissions and applications, about careers in the arts, and about post-grad work. It’s a weekend that quite literally changes the lives of some of these young artists!
Susan once said to me that throughout all of her work, her bigger goal is to ensure that our young people are educated with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in life, whether they pursue an arts-related pathway or not. Because no matter what, their dance education has the power to positively influence their lives and the lives of others.
I couldn’t agree more.
With the work I strive for at MDU and MTJGD, I believe that we are at an important turning point in the dance industry. We can choose to continue the status quo, or we can choose to keep improving … we can choose to focus on education, safety, and opportunity at the forefront of this community we love.
When I spoke with Susan recently, it reminded me just how inspiring it is to visualize the future that is possible for our students. I believe that through her work, through our work, and through the work of studio owners and leaders like you, we can ensure that our kids have the education and the preparation to be both great artists AND great humans.
Cheers to what inspires us … to what inspires YOU!