Featured Instructor of the Month: Danielle Byrd

24 May 21

Hi.  My name is Dani.  I am a registered nurse who loves dance, laughing, and having a great time.  I am located in the metro Atlanta area.  I teach at Excluzive Dance studio in Riverdale, GA.

1. You have been certified in all three levels of Liquid Motion training and have been running some of the most successful floor work classes in the state of Georgia! Tell us how you got started with Liquid Motion.

Getting started with Liquid Motion was a blessing in disguise for me. In 2010, I was involved in a head-on collision which left me with plates and screws in my right ankle and leg. As the years passed, the bones in my right foot collapsed and my orthopedic doctor instructed me not to do any dance on my feet for long periods of time. Being that I love to dance, this news depressed me.  I soon began searching for some type of floor work class and ran across a Liquid Motion Certification course that was held at Vertical Joe’s.  I decided to research the course, signed up for two beginner classes of Liquid Motion at Vertical Joe’s, and then later became certified. Level 1.0 certification led to Level 2.0, which ultimately led to the Heels certification. After getting certified, I started renting space as an independent instructor and teaching Liquid Motion at Pink Poles studio. I later transitioned to Excluzive Dance studio, where I host my Liquid Motion Classes today.

2. What is your teaching philosophy? 

My teaching philosophy is to ensure my students are having fun while learning new movements. My teaching philosophy involves me not only having patience for myself and my students, but also teaching my students to have patience with themselves.  Relax, have fun, and enjoy the journey (good and ugly).

3. Do you teach any other styles of dance? Are there any movement forms you haven’t tried but would like to?

I also teach twerk fitness and Feetup Yoga. I teach twerk fitness as an online virtual class and I teach Feetup Yoga at Excluzive Dance Studio. I am always open to trying any forms of dance. Sometimes I feel like I would love to try some type of ballroom dancing. Other times I do not.  Lol!

4. How do you apply Liquid Motion as a methodology outside of the studio? Do you feel that it impacts other areas of your life?

When I am outside of the studio I think about the position of my pelvis when I am doing certain moves, trying to determine if I can correct my alignment. I do feel Liquid Motion impacts other areas of my life. It has helped with my range of flexibility and body awareness.

5. What are your goals in your own personal movement journey? Has Liquid Motion changed the way you work toward these goals?

I would love to become more fluid, gain more strength, and gain more flexibility in my own personal movement journey. Liquid Motion has definitely changed the way that I work toward these goals. I feel like I have more body awareness and understanding of my body while working towards these goals.

6. How do you keep your students motivated and excited to come back to class every week?

Lol. This can be a challenge depending on whom is in the class. As we all know, Liquid Motion is an open level class. With that being said, I have to find that fine medium that will keep my regular participating students coming back to class while attracting my newcomers. Most times I will hint towards a move we will be doing in the next class which usually gets them excited. Other than that, I always remember to tell them that we are here to learn and have fun in a nonjudgmental zone. I encourage them to explore and think outside the box.

7. The year 2020 was crazy for everyone! How has this past year changed your outlook or approach to your classes or your own training? 

Yes, 2020 was a crazy year for everyone. The craziness carried on into 2021 for me with learning my diagnosis of breast cancer. When teaching classes I always try to remember that we all are on different levels and our bodies all function differently. Believe it or not, I cannot sit on my heels. Actually, there are many things that I struggle with, but due to my natural body struggles, I have learned to make sure there are plenty of modifications for those who have similar struggles, while also teaching and talking through full technique for those with minimal to no struggles. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I continued to teach classes at the wish of my father. It was not that I wanted to give up, I was down and out trying to take in this life changing moment and diagnosis. While teaching class I maintained my same positive spirit, encouraging others to do their best with all moves whether they were failing or succeeding with the move. This further helped me to change my approach with my attitude and spirit with classes and my own training.

8. Do you have any hidden talents?

I like to sew and feel as though I can sew leggings with my eyes closed. I also will sew an outfit here and there.

9. Do you have any tips for aspiring dancers and/or instructors who are hoping to build a supportive community for themselves?

My tip would be to always be yourself. You are your own unique self. Even if you are doing something that is common and others are also doing the same, apply your own unique spin to it. Soon enough, people will see you for the amazing individual you are and be supportive. Have patience and work hard towards your goals while having fun and making friends.

10. In one sentence, share a life lesson you’ve learned. What do you think everyone should hear at least once in their lifetime?

I am sure this is pretty common, but my advice would be: No matter how hard or impossible your dream or goal may seem, take a chance and NEVER give up on YOURSELF!

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