Founder

Saumirah McWoodson is the founding director and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and its non-profit sister company Dance Daze in Schools.

She began her dance training at the Westlake School for the Performing Arts in Daly City, California, at the age of 5. It was during her nearly 10 years as a student at WSPA that Saumirah fell in love with the art of dance, gained experience as a performer and competition dancer, and had the opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers and ballet masters, including Alexei Badrak and Vassili Mountain.

Spring2016bWhile studying dance education in New York City from 2009 to 2010, Saumirah had the privilege of taking class from Franco De Vita and studying under Raymond Lukens, former Artistic Director at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and former National Training Curriculum Artistic Director, respectively, at the American Ballet Theatre. In addition to her classical ballet training, Saumirah has studied tap, jazz, hip hop, and modern dance, music, and arts integration. She takes pride in her eclectic training in the arts and enjoys incorporating her diverse experiences into her teaching framework.

saumirahdancedaze3Merging her love of the arts, education, and travel, Saumirah has worked both as an arts and academic educator in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Virginia, New York City, on United States Military bases in Belgium and Germany, and briefly in schools in the Dominican Republic. In November 2011, Saumirah was chosen as a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Any Given Child Artist in Residence, which allowed her to bring dance-integrated science lessons to 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade students in Sacramento, California, throughout the spring of 2012. The Any Given Child initiative helped bring arts participation during the school day for students in grades K-8 in Sacramento from only 17% in 2009 to 100% currently. (Click here to read more about Any Given Child outcomes.)

saumirahdancedaze2An elementary teacher at a public charter school in Sacramento, California, Saumirah holds a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of the Pacific. Still involved with her alma mater, Saumirah is a former Communications Chair for the Sacramento Pacific Alumni Club. She is also an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. In the fall of 2017, Saumirah will begin doctoral studies in education, focusing her research on dance in schools.

Spring2016a

Saumirah is a member of the American Camp Association and an alumna of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. She regularly volunteers as a member of the Junior League of Sacramento and with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In her spare time, Saumirah enjoys painting, hiking, studying language (German, French, and Hebrew), playing recreational tennis and volleyball with friends, going to brunch, and listening to live music.

To learn more about Saumirah, follow her on Instagram & Facebook and read her blog!