Instructor Spotlight: Amanda Riley

Jun 28, 2014 | Instructor Spotlight

CVDA is thrilled to welcome Amanda Riley to our McMinnville studio this summer. Amanda is a CVDA alum whos been going to school, dancing, and working in Los Angeles for the past 6 years. We caught up with Amanda between classes to learn more about this gifted dancer and dynamic teacher. Read on for the scoop:

CVDA: So what have you been doing since you graduated from Newberg High School?

AR: Well, Kristen (Stoller) really encouraged me to go for it (go to California and expand my horizons.) Little did I know how many opportunities I’d encounter in Los Angeles. I attended Glendale Community College and took lots of dance classes, earning my dance teaching certificate. We formed a dance cohort of sorts. We choreographed and performed some big showcases, including the lighting, staging, etc. I tore my ACL and had to have surgery a few years ago, which sidelined a lot of my performing. But a wise, 60 year old ballerina helped me rehab my knee and I was able to perform in several community shows in Hollywood and LA, as well as a music video. The past two years I’ve taught at three studios; most recently I was the director of the performing company of a studio in Redondo Beach.

Miss Amanda is top left flexing her muscles. 13 years later she is following her dreams!

CVDA: Why do you love to dance?

AR: Oh wow. I started dancing at age 8. I was so shy but soon dancing allowed me to express myself and share my passion with like-minded people. I’m at my most confident when I’m dancing. It helps me let go of my emotions and leave it all on the dance floor. I just love to move – it makes me feel good! I’m so grateful for the role dancing has played in my life. Dedicating myself to dance has motivated me and made me more responsible. I love how the “season” never ends (as opposed to sports) – I can never settle. I love that dance makes me strive to always get better.

CVDA: Why do you want to teach at CVDA?

AR: After experiencing different styles of studios down in California, it made me realize what a positive and healthy experience I had at CVDA. Holly (Derville-Teer) helped me become the dancer I am today. And the friendships I built are still connections – we’re like family. We bonded through being vulnerable at competitions. The instructors were caring mentors who taught me life lessons. I realized I wanted to teach young dancers at CVDA and give back. I want to educate them and help prepare them for the world of dance beyond high school. I want to teach kids to work with their body and embrace their natural strengths.

Miss Amanda and her My First Dance Campers June 2014

CVDA: What do your students teach you?

AR: My dancers teach me so much, but I would say the biggest things they have taught me are love, passion, and the degree in which I can impact their lives. I see how much they love dance and how much they want to learn from me, not only from my dancing, but my personal values. Teaching has taught me to stay true to who I am as an instructor and person. Dancing is my life and I love sharing my fire to succeed through my teaching. Their love, trust, and dedication to dancing, and me as their instructor, inspires me. They have taught me (whether they know it or not) to trust and give love back to people.

CVDA: When you’re not dancing, how do you spend your free time?

AR: I love spending time with my family, friends, and boyfriend John (who is supportive of my career and dancing!) And my cat, Pistol Pete. We play games like badminton or just hang out. Being outside is my favorite thing – camping, hiking, going to the beach. And I like to take a yoga class, or my own dance class.

CVDA: What’s your favorite summer ritual?

AR: Going to the (Newberg) Old Fashioned Festival! The parade is like a reunion – the whole community comes out. I performed in the parade for years.

CVDA: What about your favorite food?

AR: I love cheese. Tillamook cheese! It was like $12/brick at stores in LA so I could only splurge on it occasionally.

CVDA: What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

AR: In 8th grade I went to California with Karley (Styles) and her family. I loved it – Disneyland, the Edge Performing Arts Center, the sun….that trip sparked my interest in California!

CVDA: Where do you want to travel to in the next five years?

AR: Somewhere tropical, for sure. The Bahamas! I love the beach.

CVDA: Anything else you want the CVDA families to know?

AR: I am so excited to get back to my roots and to really impact CVDA McMinnville dancers! It’s going to be a fun journey getting to know everyone and I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of everyone’s lives.

Miss Amanda at our Open House June 12th

Miss Amanda is teaching 4 days a week at our McMinnville location and teaching most of the camps for both the Newberg and McMinnville location.