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  • Writer's pictureErin Madigan White

Weston Wednesday: Meet Dance Teacher Nina Lorusso

This is the first in our “Weston Wednesday” series, spotlighting the winners of the 2024 Judy Weston Awards for Inspired Teaching. Follow along each week to learn more about these inspired educators and the impact they are making in the Montclair Public Schools. 

Dance is a mandatory course at Renaissance at Rand Middle School for all sixth graders. For some students, this is a cause for celebration. Others come prepared to hate dance class. That is, until they experience their first action-packed lesson with Nina Lorusso

Ms. Lorusso has given even some of the most-reluctant middle schoolers not only an appreciation of dance, but she has convinced many of them to love it.

Those who nominated Ms. Lorusso for a 2024 Weston Award said she creates a fun, collaborative classroom environment and listens to her students’ ideas. She makes them feel valued through encouragement and inclusivity, and she gives them ways to shine through solo performances, small group work or, as one student put it, “letting everybody show off their individual moves.” 

One parent said: “I never expected my son to choose dance, and we are pleasantly surprised at this new interest.”

Nominators noted her energy, creative spirit and “funny-but-strict” approach to teaching.

Ms. Lorusso opens her students' eyes to new art forms and gives them confidence to try new things. She challenges and uplifts more experienced dance students, and she encourages kids to express themselves through movement. She even inspires some of them to practice at home!

For all of these reasons, Nina Lorusso is an inspired teacher.

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