After 25 years as a valued member of the PNB School Faculty, Dane Holman is retiring. Over the past 25 years, Dane has helped create and shape the PNB syllabus; taught all levels in the School; choreographed numerous School Performance pieces; traveled across the country to audition and recruit students for our Summer Course; participated in hundreds of hours of student conferences; presented informative curriculum lecture demonstrations at PNB’s Teachers’ Seminar workshops, and most importantly, have shown such immense care and consideration in their teaching and relationships with their students.
Dane Holman is originally from Savannah Georgia. She trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre and School of American Ballet. She danced with American Ballet Theatre II and the Cleveland Ballet. Ms. Holman joined the faculty in 1997.
What levels and classes have you taught at PNB School?
My teaching career began at PNB School in January 1997, and over the years I had the opportunity to teach everything from Creative Movement up through Level VIII in our Student Division, as well as in the DanceChance Program and Open Adult classes. I have taught Technique and Pointe in the Professional Division, and a highlight has been teaching Company class since 2017.
Can you share memorable moments from your time teaching at PNB School?
The first thing that comes to mind is seeing students flourish in the classroom. I have witnessed some students begin training at age seven that are now professional dancers either with PNB or in other companies across the globe. It is heartwarming to have students come visit that have chosen a different path but have fond memories of their time at PNB. I have come to recognize and appreciate the vast benefits of the pursuit of ballet study and how it helps shape one’s sense of self.
Any favorite memories or particularly memorable trips when on audition tours?
One favorite memory was an audition in Salt Lake City in 2007. I have notes about #46 that I thought had wonderful potential. Elizabeth Murphy is now a Principal with PNB!
What was your favorite role as a dancer?
When I was a young dancer in ABT II, I danced in a lovely pas de deux choreographed by Norbert Vesak called Belong. It was soulful, sensual, and beautiful. I also cherish my experience dancing in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and The Four Temperaments.
How has ballet instruction or your approach to teaching changed over your career? What has remained the same?
Collectively, the faculty at PNBS has a wealth of knowledge, and I can say that after more than 25 years, I am still learning and evolving as a teacher just by watching and talking to my colleagues! I am inspired and influenced by looking in someone’s class or talking about the syllabus in a meeting, the dressing room, or on a walk with Meg Potter and our dogs. I have always tried to nurture my students and help them discover not only the importance of technique (I love a good 5th position), but also encourage each student to express their unique qualities as a dancer.
What is your non-ballet life like?
I have a wonderful life! My husband Jim and I have been married 36 years, and we have two children and two grandchildren with a third arriving in July. I met my husband in the Bahamas when he was a boat captain and I was on a boat with my parents. We are returning to the “island life” as we will now reside full-time in South Puget Sound. Our children are in the area, so I am fortunate to get to see them often. My grandchildren call me Daney and they are a joy! Our dog, Toby (a King Charles Cavalier), at almost 12 still likes to go for a walk or a swim.
What are you looking forward to spending more time on in your retirement from PNB School?
Hmm, that is a big question! I have been involved in ballet for more than 50 years, so I am looking forward to discovering and being open to new possibilities! I know I will be spending time with my grandchildren and also traveling to Florida to help my parents. I want to take some time to rest, rejuvenate, and finish a few house projects in the short term, but ultimately I want to cultivate my relationships and serve others in the long term.
What are currently listening to, reading and/or watching?
I enjoy a good courtroom drama! Currently we are watching The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
Practice your pirouettes and fouettés just as much on the left side as the right; your left big toe will thank you!
Tell us something we don’t know.
I once danced dressed in a penguin costume on stage over the whale tank at Sea World. I also have a knack for finding shark teeth on the beach.
Featured photo: Dane Holman teaching Professional Division students, photo © Angela Sterling.
Photos: Ms. Holman teaching Summer Course students, photo © Angela Sterling. Ms. Holman teaching DanceChance students, photo © Angela Sterling. Ms. Holman teaching Professional Division students, photo © Angela Sterling.
Dane Holman in Raymonda at ABT II. Ms. Holman at Cleveland Ballet. Ms. Holman’s dog, Toby. Photos courtesy of Dane Holman.