andrea v. lawhead, instructor

Andrea V. Lawhead began teaching at Sherwood Dance over a decade ago in 2004 and established the Acro and Belly dance programs. She also taught non-traditional partnering, modern, and tap, and studied Highland dance under Jan Capperauld for 5 years (and through 2 pregnancies!) at SDA. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts and Dance from Western Oregon University, and spent 3 years as a professional company member and 5 years as an instructor at Do Jump! Physical Theater & Movement School in Portland. She periodically choreographs horse vaulting routines for the Ecco Ridge Vaulting Club, and lives in Portland with her husband and two rambunctious boys. After taking a year off to complete the Rhodec International Interior Design Diploma program, Andrea is excited to rejoin the supportive, creative family of Sherwood Dance Academy.

She teaches: The Fusion Performance Group

Get to know Andrea better:

When did you start dancing and why did you keep dancing?  
As a kid, I took gymnastics for a short time and then did dance/ drill team in junior high and high school, and started learning belly dance my senior year. It wasn't until college, however, that I finally had the chance to start technique classes in Modern, ballet, and tap, and my love for movement and choreography took hold. I keep dancing because I just can't stop!

Why did you want to become a dance instructor? 
I wanted to share this love of movement with others. I love giving students the tools and technique to create art with their bodies and challenging them beyond what they thought possible of themselves. Seeing the power of dancers moving together, bringing a vision to life, is so rewarding.

Do you still dance or take dance lessons even though you are an instructor? 
I wish I had time to do more classes! I do believe we all have something to learn and to teach, and I love to be constantly challenged and inspired by all sorts of movement classes. I used to be a long-time Highland dance student, and I plan to return to trapeze class soon for conditioning and as another creative outlet.

What is your favorite style of dance and why? 
Do I have to pick?? I suppose one could say Modern is my favorite, because it encompasses so many dance techniques, and I love the freedom and range of movement it allows. I'm also a big belly dance fan, because of its uniqueness in using the torso as an expressive part of the body. 

What is the hardest part about dance to you and why? 
Getting older! Keeping my body flexible and strong is harder with age and injury. But the effort is worth it!

What is your favorite thing to do outside of the studio or besides teaching dance?
I am obsessively passionate about interior design, so am pursuing an eventual career in the field. Arranging spaces for function and beauty to positively affect people's lives is a puzzle than I can't stop trying to solve! 

What is your favorite dance quote and why?  
“To understand what I am saying, you have to believe that dance is something other than technique. We forget where the movements come from. They are born from life. When you create a new work, the point of departure must be contemporary life -- not existing forms of dance.”  ― Pina Bausch

All movement, from the "mundane" to the "magnificent," can be an artistic expression of our humanity, of our souls.

Random tidbits:
Andrea has been an extra in movies "10 Things I Hate About You," "The Feast of Love," and an episode of "Leverage."