Dance Company director wins Dance Educator of the Year


Courtesy of Cathy Klein

Dance Company Director Lynda Fitzgerald (left) won the Dance Educator of the Year award in March.

Adrianna Gonzalez, Daily Editor

AACC’s Dance Company director in March won the Maryland Dance Education Association’s top award.

“I am so honored and humbled by the award,”  Lynda Fitzgerald, said of her Dance Educator of the Year honor. “It’s a lovely honor to have,”

The Dance Company is the performance arm of the Performing Arts Department at the college, Fitzgerald said.

AACC students and community members perform as part of the Dance Company, according to Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said she started the Dance Company with some students in fall 1998.

Dance Company member Kylie Wright said she feels proud of Fitzgerald.

“I think that her ability to connect with others is a good quality that has helped her win this award,” Wright, a first-year dance student, said.

Dance Company member Georgia Morton said Fitzgerald deserved the award.

“She’s positive, hardworking, inspiring and busy,” Morton, a third-year dance student, said. “She prioritizes her students, always finds time and she works with her students individually no matter what level they’re at in their dance skills.”

Morton said Fitzgerald has helped improve her technique.

“Her passion and enthusiasm for dance are so contagious,” Morton said. “She inspires all of her students to work harder so they can be as successful as she is.”

Seventh-year noncredit student Linda NeJame said Fitgerald is the best dance instructors she has had.

“I think she’s the best teacher I’ve had,” NeJame said. “I’ve had a lot of different teachers in different cities that I’ve lived in and she’s the best.”

NeJame said Fitzgerald treats all her students equally.

“She makes sure everybody is on the right track before she moves and she never leaves anyone behind,” NeJame said.

Fitzgerald said she is disappointed the college campus had to close because of COVID-19, as it left the company nowhere to practice or perform.

“My students have worked so hard,” Fitzgerald said. “There is no spring performance, but we did get to finish the work that we started.”

The company planned to perform a piece titled “Spring Migration” on campus in May.

“The one thing that I’m grateful for is that I just finished a new piece [for] them, and they performed it at the American College Dance Association conference [in early March] for the Mid-Atlantic North region,” Fitzgerald said. “They did a fabulous job.”

NeJame, Morton and Wright said they are taking virtual dance classes with Fitzgerald over Zoom.

“We do a warm-up; she shows [how to perform a dance] and then she makes sure everybody is hearing her,” NeJame said. “Before we move on, she’s watching people and making sure everybody’s doing it correctly.”

NeJame said Fitzgerald holds the class every Tuesday.

Morton said Fitzgerald has given the class exercises to do to help them stay active.

“She’s recorded herself doing warmups and some ab workouts for us to do at home,” Morton said. “She checks in on us to make sure that we’re doing them.”

Fitzgerald said she loves her job.

“The job that I have is a just a gem; it’s a dream,” Fitzgerald said. “I get to work with phenomenal students, and I get to watch them grow as dancers.”