Fairfax Co. dance teacher helps students improve wellness – WTOP

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Stephanie Gaines-Bryant | [email protected]
January 31, 2022, 12:01 AM
Lisa Girdy is not only a dance teacher. She’s the teacher of the year at South Lakes High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, and leads several mentor programs.
Girdy says many of her students didn’t realize they were going to be spending so much time alone, “so they did a lot of soul searching to try to figure out how to navigate this situation.”
She also said that, when they came back to school, “they had some social challenges with being able to communicate with people face to face.”
Girdy teaches ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop styles, dance history and composition. Through her classes and mentoring programs like the Diamond program for girls and the Move program for boys, Girdy encourages teens to focus on their wellness.

That means “making sure they are eating well, that they are sleeping, that they are talking to people,” she said, “that they are finding some sort of physical activity that they can do to release some of the anxiety.”
She also has advice for students who are trying to navigate this new normal.
“You dance to the rhythm of your heart because that is your heartbeat, that is your soul,” Girdy said.
South Lakes High School has had Girdy on their roster for 10 years and she is a graduate of the school. The Loudon County resident attended George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and is the married mother of three kids. She was also born in D.C. and raised in Fairfax County.
This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
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