First year teacher excited about opportunities

HARLINGEN — It’s only been a year, but she’s already jazzed about teaching.

“ It was a new journey for me, but I absolutely loved it,” said Eleann Lopez, dance instructor at the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory.

Lopez has just completed her first year of teaching and she’s looking forward to many more. She’s also the dance instructor at Harlingen High School South and director of the Southern Stars Drill Team.

“ For me I absolutely love being able to see the growth and the confidence that dance brings to my students,” said Lopez, 24. “When they achieve a new skill or they understand a new concept, the excitement that it brings to them reminds me why I do what I do.”

Lopez, a 2014 graduate of Harlingen High School, expressed an energetic passion for the part dance has played in her life.

“ For me dance has taught me determination,” she said. “It’s taught me discipline and it’s imparted a love for the arts overall in me, and I truly believe that the arts do bring people together.”

She tries to extend that experience to her students.

“ I’d love for my students to see how they can be united in dance or through singing or through acting or whatever it is that they are involved in,” she said. “I’d just love for them to learn that when they work together that they can create beautiful works of art.”

So what does it take to be a good dancer?

“ To start off, I would say that it takes a lot of persistence, determination, it definitely takes discipline and just a hunger to grow,” she said. “Dance and growing as a dancer is a lifelong journey. It’s not something that you can achieve in a day. It takes determination.”

Lopez brings a wealth of experience. She graduated just last year with a degree in dance from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, but she’s spent plenty of time teaching others.

“ In the past I’ve been hired by different high schools through the Valley to go in as a guest choreographer and teach routines,” she said. “I also worked at a dance studio here in Harlingen for about a year and a half, so I got to work with dancers ages 2 to 18. So that was a great learning experience as well.”