Gay Powell has been the owner and artistic director of Esprit de la Danse for 47 years and has been loving every moment of it. She is still active in teaching every tap, ballet, and jazz dance class at the studio and enjoys the personal touch she can give to each and every one of her students. She is especially proud that she now has many second generation students and has even taught three generations in one family. Gay received a B.A. in psychology with an emphasis in physical education from San Jose State University.
Kathryn Kilner returned to Esprit de la Danse as a ballet instructor in 2008. She danced as a student at the school for twelve years through her senior year of high school. In 2004, she was awarded the Esprit de la Danse Hall of Fame Award.
In college, she minored in dance and danced with Stanford University's Cardinal Ballet Company, for which she choreographed three pieces and served as Co-Artistic Director during the 2007-2008 season. Her choreography spans ballet, contemporary, jazz and traditional Celtic social dance and has been performed in a variety of shows in the Bay Area and adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival.
In addition to Esprit de la Danse, she has taught at Stanford gymnastics Camp and the YMCA. Kathryn is also a certified Pilates instructor. She brings her knowledge of many styles of dance and Pilates to her contemporary ballet classes.
Dayna teaches jazz. She is awesome.
"From my years at Esprit, I have experienced Gay's overwhelming acceptance and understanding of all her students. Her compassion towards her students has taught them to embrace what they have and always try their best. Gay values improvement over talent. She does not turn down anyone for their body type or ability. If someone wants to dance, she helps them pursue their passion. Last year in January, I dislocated my knee and could not dance for 3 months. I was very discouraged that I would not be able to dance in recital. Gay encouraged me to work to the best of my ability and believe in myself. She taught me never to give up."
Vitality, talent, dedication, courage, geniality, and humility are only a few of the attributes of Kristin, the girl with "All the Right Moves".
For those who danced with her, and for those who strived to follow in her footsteps, she was a living legend.
The legend lives on.
Enthusiastic, generous, humorous, supportive, and loving are only a few characteristics of the girl with the "Fire on High".
Wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, student, teacher, friend: "it only takes a spark, to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing."
The world is a better place because for a brief moment Jen lived in it.
A tradition since 1967, Esprit de la Danse has specialized in children's dance instruction in the Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Mountain View, Los Altos, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Los Gatos communities. Dance lessons are taught for boys and girls ages 4 through high school, and are offered in ballet, tap, and jazz. Also offered is an adult tap class, and adult Yoga, and Yoga-Pilates Dance.
Dance classes at Esprit de la Danse are fun, friendly, and supportive. One parent has even called us "The Little Dance School with the Great Big Heart". Classes are divided by type of dance, as well as age and ability. (See list of classes on Schedule page.) Most classes are limited to 14 students, and will usually involve a student helper in addition to the primary instructor, Gay Powell, owner and director since 1973. All student helpers are currently enrolled at Esprit de la Danse.
In addition to receiving the benefits of a dance education, students who take dance lessons at Esprit de la Danse also have the opportunity to learn self-discipline and self-esteem, to exercise for good health, and to make new, and sometimes life-long, friends.
"My body was not made for dancing. Because of a hip operation, I have no flexibility, but I wanted to dance, and Gay took me in. She encouraged me to never give up and to always try my best. She told me to always work on my splits even though I know it's not possible. She taught me to dance from the heart and to not let my body hold me back. Gay helped nurture the determination and discipline I have today, and I thank her for that."
"Gay values every person as an individual and has helped each of us grow as a person. She has pulled so much out of me as a dancer and as a person in the past four years. Gay gave me no limits, and opened doors that others would have sealed shut. She taught me that the only person that could keep me from reaching my dreams was myself-- and that it's not the years of experience that matters, but what you do with them."
"Gay has taught me that I could do anything that I put my mind to. No matter how busy or stressful my life is, it is possible to accomplish anything with dedication, discipline, determination, and desire. Through dance classes at Esprit, I not only learned to dance, but also time management, people skills, and confidence. These qualities I know I can use now and in the future in whatever I choose to do. Here at Esprit we are not taught only to dance but we learn lessons to keep for a lifetime."
In 1992, during our 20th anniversary celebration, I started a new tradition, and established a memorial fund in which I annually accept donations to honor the memory of a sepcial former student, Kristin Jones, and more recently I added another memorial fund to honor another very special former student, Jennifer Yeilding Roach.
Donations in any amount are at tribute to the excellence in both of these girls and perhaps even a gift of life itself. In advance, I thank each and every one of you who will be donating this year.
19940 E. Homestead Rd., Suite 200 | Cupertino, CA 95014 |(408) 737-7494
ESPRIT DE LA DANSE HALL OF FAME
Dayna Nguyen returned to Esprit de la Danse as a jazz instructor in 2003. She went on to create and lead a competition team for the studio, winning first place at numerous competitions all years in competition. She danced as a student at the school for fourteen years through her senior year of high school. In 1997, she was awarded the Esprit de la Danse Hall of Fame Award.
During her time in college she started and led the San Diego State University Dance Team. She was also a member of the United Spirit Association (USA) staff, teaching dance camps around the country and judging various dance competitions. While in the San Diego area, she was also the advisor for the Mt. Carmel Dance Troupe, which competed and performed at local events.
Her choreography spans jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop and has been performed in a variety of shows both in the Bay Area and in Southern California.
The girl with
"All the Right Moves"
The girl with the
"Fire on High"