Rachel Willis

Why do you teach?

I teach because I have a passion for ballet, I spent my whole life working to perfect my craft and now I have the opportunity to help form young artists developed their craft. I also want to be able to teach my students healthy ways to be the best dancers they can be

Your favorite dance moment?

The year before I retired from performing I danced for one of my favorite teachers as he set a contemporary ballet Mozarts Requiem on Portland ballet. The rehearsals where long and exhausting very demanding physically, technically and musically. We performed with live chorus and orchestra and danced for 50 minutes straight without leaving stage. The experience was so powerful many of where moved to tears, fighting to give the requiem the respect it deserves!

Why you teach at DSOM?

DSOM is a family, the students are kind and supportive to one another and the teachers are all friends. Trish allows for artistic freedom and is as wonderfully supportive and understanding a boss I’ve ever had anywhere. The studio offers an energetic, open atmosphere for learning and development both artistically and personally.

Personal Fun Fact.

I was voted class clown in my middle school yearbook.

How long have you been dancing and teaching?

I have danced since I was 6. before that I was really into gymnastics, I probably would have stuck with that, I absolutely loved it!!! But my mom took me to see the Nutcracker… and the rest is history! Like many dancers I taught a little all through my training but as a full time teacher, I have been here at DSOM since January 2006!

Message to my students:

You are who you are, you where born with your body, your mind and your heart, it is up to you what you do with it. Nobody’s perfect, 180 degree turnout is super rare, flat feet are not the end of the world, being flexible won’t make you a beautiful dancer, and not being a great turner doesn’t mean you can’t dance! You are who and what you are, beautiful and rich in so many ways don’t ever let anyone tell or treat you any other way!