2018 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Arts Education

Leslie Baker has been teaching at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) for 16 years, and has made her mark on the Flagstaff community as both an educator and a performer. She teaches a variety of classes at FALA including Jazz dance, levels 1,2 & 3, Modern 1 and Tap dance. She is also the sponsor for FALA’s charter chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA).

Leslie was the Outstanding ASU BFA Graduate in Dance Performance and Choreography, and has worked as a professional dancer in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Canada, and Japan. Before moving to Flagstaff, Leslie gained 9 years experience as a teacher while living on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There, she developed and taught dance, children’s theater, aerobics, step, body sculpting, and fitness programs for the Grand Canyon community. Leslie created a creative movement program and curriculum for the children of the Grand Canyon area called “Move!” which she then brought to the NAU Preparatory School for the Performing Arts (now, NAU Community Music and Dance Academy) where she also taught Primary Ballet, Tap and Jazz in the RAD program.

As a teacher, Leslie makes an effort to provide her students with plenty of opportunities to perform and get involved with the community. In the past, her students have performed at the opening reception for the Youth Art Exhibition at Coconino Center for the Arts. Her students have also performed at with the Link Up programs with the Flagstaff Symphony and at Palette to Palate at CCC. Events like this provide great opportunities to work with fellow performers and community organizations, while getting practice performing in front of an audience. Each year at FALA, Leslie choreographs, directs and produces two major performances: Winter Escapades in December and the Spring Dance Performers in May. Through these performances alone, Leslie works with around 150 FALA dancers. She also takes students on several dance related field trips each year, to U of A, ASU and New York City.

Although Leslie has recently resigned from FALA, she intends to continue contributing in the Flagstaff arts community in any way she’s needed: whether teaching, choreographing, performing, volunteering, supporting, etc.

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