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Aug 10, 2017

Mater Dei Prep Names Dance Teacher and Cheer Coach

Mater Dei Prep continues to expand its health and wellness curriculum, announcing the hiring of Erin Beattie as the new dance teacher and dance team, sideline, and competition cheerleading coach. Lance Bennett, Mater Dei Prep’s athletic director, said he is very excited to welcome Ms. Beattie to the athletic department. “She brings an amazing energy that I think our students can really benefit from,” said Mr. Bennett. In recent months, the school has expanded its sports programs, introducing both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse to the school for the first time. Additionally, Mr. Bennett and the administration have developed the physical education curriculum at the school into a comprehensive health and wellness program that includes exercise, nutrition, and health classes, aimed at giving students a foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Ms. Beattie plans to put this philosophy at the core of her dance classes, which will utilize the school’s state-of-the-art, on-campus dance studio. “The health and wellness programs here (at Mater Dei Prep) drew me in to be a part of the school,” said Ms. Beattie, who believes including these types of practices early in life can help students once they leave school. While she will teach all aspects of movement, her students will also learn about the historical and cultural impact of dance, understand dance as an art form, learn dance vocabulary, and use critical thinking skills to interpret, evaluate, describe, and analyze dance. “Dance just makes you feel good. It does not matter your ability, your experience, or talent,” she explained, adding that she hopes all students, no matter their prior dance involvement, will give her classes a try.

Ms. Beattie comes to the job with more than 30 years of dance experience. She began dancing at the age of three, learning classical ballet in New Jersey and in New York City at the New York Conservatory of Dance and School of American Ballet. She trained internationally at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and in France. She has performed in many famous ballets, including “The Nutcracker,” “Firebird,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” She transitioned from ballet to the world of competitive dance, training and performing with different companies and teams, winning many state and regional titles. She performed in both the pre-game and half-time shows at the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii in 1997. In 2015, Ms. Beattie opened Dancefree, a studio in Red Bank that she considers her greatest accomplishment. As the studio’s artistic director, she enjoys “working with children, helping them reach and exceed their potential, building their self-confidence. Doing what I love most every day has been my biggest blessing.”

Ms. Beattie is excited to start working at Mater Dei Prep, which she feels is “changing the way we view education” with its approach to educating the whole person. She said she is honored to be a part of the school’s growth. Her enthusiasm for the job started with Lance Bennett. “His energy is contagious!” she said, and she already feels like part of the Mater Dei Prep family.

“Her passion to not only teach dance and coach cheer,” said Bennett, “but also to provide the students with an awareness of their overall wellbeing, fits right into the emphasis we’re placing on health and wellness” at Mater Dei Prep.