Serving Communities Through Art
I have always had a passion to serve my community and help others. After I graduated from UW-Madison, I moved back to Milwaukee with this mission in mind. I eventually found the perfect career that allowed me to serve and connect resources to students and families from my Milwaukee community. I came back to Milwaukee with another passion as well, a passion for dance. After being a self-taught dancer for most of my life, I finally plucked up the bravery to attend some classes at UW-Madison and around the community there. Once I began to pursue learning dance regularly and participating on a few school-based dance crews, I realized that dance was not just a way to connect with music and express myself, but also a way to form and experience beautiful connections with others.
What I discovered in pursuing dance is that if you truly commit and work hard at something, you can achieve any goal that you set for yourself. You will see improvement by putting the work in and being consistent; it is an art form where you get out of it what you put into it. Dance is also therapeutic for me. The act of doing it alone or with others always uplifts my spirit and makes me feel light, happy, and free. I began teaching classes at Daync Studio in Milwaukee in early 2019. My favorite thing about teaching dance now is the feeling I get when sharing positive energy and space with others in class. Everyone dancing in unison, feeding off of each other’s energy, cheering each other on, and enjoying themselves creates a certain atmosphere that I have not experienced anywhere else. That is the most beautiful part of being a member of the dance community for me.
My work at Lincoln Avenue school could be considered a different form of art. As a Community School Coordinator, I have to be innovative and on my toes in order to implement strategies and problem solve to help the students, families and residents that we serve. One project in particular, I am very proud to have been a part of. I was able to work closely with the WI Bike Fed, Lincoln Avenue teachers, neighbors, community organizations, and the Safe Routes to School Initiative from the City of Milwaukee to involve our students in the urban planning and re-design of the neighborhood around the school. The purpose of the project was to implement pedestrian safety infrastructure around the school to slow down traffic and make it safer for the Lincoln Avenue students to walk to school.
Some students participate on our Walking School Bus, an initiative that was started to help kids walk safely to school among the busy streets and speeding cars. It was amazing and inspiring to see how the students became experts and advocates for safety in their community. This project inspired a the Child-Friendly Cities initiative to implement this project and curriculum that we wrote city-wide, so that students across Milwaukee will have a say in the pedestrian safety design around their schools.
Milwaukee is a diverse and vibrant city. I am inspired and blown away constantly by the work of our organizations and the way everyone comes together to uplift our most vulnerable communities. We need arts now more than ever to help us express, cope and heal from the pandemic. Daync Studio and the dance community as a whole in Milwaukee has remained vibrant and as a respite for people to continue to come together.
About the author:
Regina Stieber is a native Milwaukeean, Latina, community advocate and artist. She is dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher. She has been involved with many local performances, dance crews, and has been teaching hip-hop dance for about two years. She also works for the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership, is a dancer for the Milwaukee Bucks on the 414 Crew, and serves the school community of Lincoln Avenue School - a bilingual school on Milwaukee’s South Side.
Check out a clip of Regina leading a beginner hip-hop class and follow her on Instagram for future dance updates!