Dance Gave Her Love, a Community, and an Identity

At 2 1/2 years old, Shaina Schwartz and her Mom went to see the Nutcracker. Even though this was the first time she had ever seen any kind of a dance performance, as soon as it was over she excitedly said, "Mommy, that's what I want to do!"


Her long road toward becoming a dancer and then an owner and founder of a dance company had its share of ups and downs. Shaina started taking ballet lessons at a professional studio in New Hampshire at 5 years old and in her younger years, the regimen and regularity of the training was a good fit for her serious nature.

As time went on, however, the excitement of learning technique and performing with the company began to wane. "In my high school years," Shaina recalled, "I spent a lot of time forcing myself to mold myself into what I thought dance directors and choreographers wanted me to be, and it wasn't working." After years steeped in the discipline of ballet, Shaina felt only anxiety, not joy, in her dancing, so she walked away from what had been a mainstay of her life.

It was not until she was in her twenties that, by chance, a friend brought Shaina to a dance festival where she was able to see the Boston Tap Company, with renowned founder, Sean Fielder. Shaina was immediately reconnected with her deep, inner love of dance and decided to audition, even though she was not a tap dancer. She spent months teaching herself tap from YouTube videos, and eventually, her drive to learn routines and develop technique earned her an invitation to join the company.

With this kind of determination and drive, it's not a big surprise that Shaina is now the owner/founder of the dance company, Touché Taps. Under her direction, dancers are trained, not rehearsed, in an inclusive and positive atmosphere. Watch and learn how she has overcome obstacles to grow as a dancer, a director, and an educator.

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