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A Moment With Shannon Atkins

By Ashley Sutherland

TheatreArtLife features articles written by live entertainment and theatre industry professionals across the globe. Contributor Shannon Atkins, founder and director of “Dance Technique” on the Gold Coast, which is a leading Performing Arts Center in Australia, has students currently performing on Broadway and attending prestigious schools including the Juilliard School, The Royal Ballet School and The Ailey School. Shannon’s choreography has won numerous awards including “Best Tap” and “Outstanding Contemporary” at the Australian National Dance Championships with two students crowned “Australia’s Dancer of the Year”. Join us as we spend a moment with Shannon Atkins.

How did you get started in your career?

I got started in my career at a very young age choreographing my own solos at 10 years old. I then began assistant teaching at 12 years old – it has always been in my blood!

What is the best role/job/gig you have done and why?

The best role was landing a job at Broadway Dance Center. I used to visit there from Australia to take class and be inspired – never in my life did I think I would one day be working there.

What was the worst task you were given when you were starting out?

The worst task was teaching a baby jazz class of 3/4 year olds that had 30 kids. I was a brand new 18-year-old teacher and it was just so overwhelming to keep them engaged for an hour.

What do you think is your best skill?

I think my best skill is being able to inspire dancers to become the best that they can be. I urge them to aim higher than they ever dreamed and it has been amazing to watch my students go on to achieve their dream jobs.

What do other people think is your best skill?

I think lots of people see me as an excellent tap teacher. I seemed to get hired in this role a lot!

What advice would you give your 18-year old self?

I would tell myself that you don’t need to have it all figured out. I would tell myself to relax and enjoy life and its opportunities as they come. I was a big-time perfectionist and stress artist and really didn’t need to be.

What is your job now?

I am a professional dance choreographer, instructor, master teacher, convention teacher and judge based in NYC.

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