Get To Know Melissa – Staff Spotlight

Meet Melissa Curling, the director and founder of District Dance Company. Melissa earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance with a concentration in Jazz from East Carolina University. She has been teaching a variety of dance disciplines throughout the DC metro area for more than 10 years and opened District Dance Company in 2010.

“I am blessed to spend every day building children up to know how amazing they can be with a bit of grit, a lot of hard work, and the confidence to believe in themselves.” – Melissa Curling

We asked Melissa to tell us a few things about herself that her DDC family might enjoy knowing.

What are 3 things about you we might find surprising?

I’m pretty much an open book, but here are a few fun things some of you might not know about me.

  1. My first dance class was a “Bring-a-Friend to Class Day!” When I was 12 years old, my friend Tessie invited me to be her guest at her dance studio. I fell in love with dancing and the rest was history!
  2. I met my husband at work the same day that I put my two weeks notice in! On a January morning in 2008, I gave notice at my current job as I had accepted another position elsewhere. About 30 minutes later, Claudio walked in for his first day of work. I actually called the HR department to ask if I could change my mind! They laughed, said no, and told me I had two weeks to get to know this guy I was so enamored by. It worked!
  3. I want to be a Rockette when I grow up!

What is the greatest advice a mentor ever gave you?

My mentor shared a quote that really resonated with me:

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

Her point was to remind me that we don’t always need to be the candle spreading the light. Sometimes, our most important job is to be the mirror that reflects the light in other people. My role as a teacher, leader, boss, wife, daughter, and friend is constantly changing; sometimes I’ll be the candle, sometimes I’ll be the mirror reflecting the candle’s light, and sometimes I’ll need to see my own reflection to remember the light that I’m capable of spreading.  

What motivates you in your personal life and your life at the studio?

This year, I spent a lot of time focusing on my Why.

After much thought and reflection, I came to realize that empowering women to be bold, brave, and unapologetic in everything they do is what drives me. That is my personal Why.

This same purpose has informed the mission of District Dance Company. We seek to empower girls and young women to be leaders so that, in any endeavor, they will be unstoppable.

Learn to love to dance alongside Melissa and the other professional, caring dance instructors at District Dance Company. Click here to sign up for a Free Trial dance class!