NIC dance instructor earns Mayor's Award; performs during taping of ‘Dancing with the Stars'
Most little girls love to dance, but when Sheryl Bentz-Sipe was growing up, she knew this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. And for the past 20 years, she has been making her dream come true devoting both her life and her career to her art.
Bentz-Sipe earned an associate’s degree from North Idaho College and a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Idaho. She earned a master’s degree in dance from the University of Oregon in 1992 where she was the recipient of the National Dance Association’s Outstanding Dance Graduate Student Award for research in innovative dance teaching methods.
|photo2|She returned to North Idaho to open DanceTales Studio and Ballroom in Coeur d’Alene and has taught dance classes at NIC for the past six years, designing the social and multicultural dance curriculum for the college.
Bentz-Sipe has since won numerous trophies in competitions with her students, placing in the dance categories of waltz, viennese waltz, tango, foxtrot, cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, jive, east coast swing and nightclub two-step.
But no award means quite as much as the one she recently received from the people of her hometown. In October, Bentz-Sipe was selected for the prestigious Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission.
“Sheryl has impacted my life in a very personal way because of the love and passion I have had for dance since I was a child,” said dance student Tarah Johnson, one of four nominators of Bentz-Sipe. “I have been involved in dance since I was 7 and no one has had more of an impression on my dance education than her. Sheryl’s commitment to helping me and others learn about dance has encouraged me to pursue my own career in dance education. Her confidence and support has given me the drive to be the best dancer and teacher I can possibly be. I truly hope I have as great an impact on our community in the future as Sheryl has demonstrated.”
Bentz-Sipe is consistently noted by internationally-ranked professionals for her excellence in choreography, musicality, originality and teaching ability.
Her notoriety recently earned her and Mark Vesterby, one of Bentz-Sipe’s students and her dance partner in competitions, a VIP invitation to the dance-off between John O’Hurley and Kelly Monaco on the ABC television hit “Dancing with the Stars” last season in Hollywood.
They were the only studio audience guests in the history of the show to be invited onto the stage for a performance. Thinking quickly, Bentz-Sipe and Vesterby decided to perform a tango routine before a cheering audience, Hollywood stars and the show’s panel of judges.
They spent an evening wining and dining with the stars, dance pros, the judges and the producer of the show, after which the producer asked Bentz-Sipe to send her ideas discussed for next season’s show.
“It is quite a privilege to have such an accomplished dancer and teacher of dance right here in North Idaho,” Vesterby said. “I have traveled and taken from many throughout the Northwest and have yet to find someone of her caliber or to find anyone as devoted as she is to impart the art of dance to others. She truly is an Idaho gem.”
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NIC Dance Instructor Sheryl Bentz-Sipe, (208) 769-3206Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006