Everyone sings and dances around, Carson City dance instructor Gina Davis says, and she just wants to give everyone an equal opportunity to flaunt their inner desires, great or small, and feel good about it.
It’s likely one of the reasons Davis is being considered as a national Instructor of the Year through Greatmats, and the local community can have a hand in helping her to win through Thursday by voting for her.
Thirty-five dance instructors are involved in the friendly competition from 26 states for the 2018 award, designed to give praise to those who have shown community service and sought to make a difference on their students through their craft. The contest is in its fourth year, according to Brett Hart, who handles social media and marketing for Greatmats, a company based in Wisconsin that provides recycled rubber flooring and creates gym flooring and room layouts.
“Each year we have seen growth, whether it is the number of nominees, votes or us expanding the series to include more instructors,” Hart said. “This year, we’re seeing growth in all three areas as we honor dance instructors, martial arts instructors, gymnastics coaches, cheerleading coaches, fitness trainers, dog trainers and horse trainers.”
Davis of the Western Nevada Performing Arts Center has been in dance since she was 8. Now 60, she’s enjoyed a full career that has covered performing at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, alongside the cast of MGM Grand’s “Hello Hollywood, Hello,” and in recent years, choreographing about 50 or 60 shows at or for Western Nevada College, including its most recent “Mamma Mia!,” which Davis said resulted in the largest audience WNC has ever experienced.
“We nearly sold out every night; it was fabulous,” she said, crediting her colleagues with production and choreography.
She said she’s most proud of helping the youth who have a hunger to dance but can’t always afford it.
“When I’ve had children who can’t afford to dance, and I know dance is what is keeping them off the streets, those are the ones I want to reach out for and get them hooked and make sure they stay with it because maybe they’ll do something with it with their lives,” Davis said.
She said she particularly reaches for the 10- to 15-year-olds because they’re the most influential, but her studio teaches anyone between 3 and the current oldest student is 75. Her staff of five works with all ages, she said.
Finalists for the competition can be voted for by going to https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-dance-instructor-of-the-year.php until Nov. 29.
Greatmats will choose between the two finalists to determine the winner based on the instructor’s service, integrity and quality.
Nominees represent the states of North Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Massachusetts, Arizona, New Jersey, Missouri, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan, Utah, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, New York, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, Nevada.