Mrs. Clift: BT’s Dance Guru

cliftMrs. Joy Clift’s passion is everything and anything to do with dance. She is an Atlanta native who graduated from Gainesville High School and then went on to Towson University on a dance scholarship. She presently lives in Roswell with her husband and three children.

What do you teach at BT, and what activities are you involved in and outside of school?I teach six classes of dance at four different levels and direct all of the dance shows of which there are three. I also help out with the musical and really anything going on in the theater when I can. I am married and have 3 children (this takes up most of my outside time). I also work with several non-profits writing grants and helping with development.

What were your aspirations for the future when in college –  goals, wants and desires? I always wanted to dance. I have always enjoyed performing and creating. My goal was to dance professionally in a company, which I did for five years after graduating college.

When/Why did you first get into dance? I have danced for as long as I can remember. I can’t imagine my life without dance; it has allowed me so many opportunities through performance, choreography and now with my students. I have a need to be creative and also share that creative experience with others.

Having the unique perspective of being a faculty member from the inception of the school, what has been the biggest change you have seen? The use of technology. When we first opened, phones weren’t even that big and now we all have phones, Chromebooks and tablets.

What has been one of your favorite moments at BT and why?  I think the collaboration of the Fine Arts Department in the performance of Cats. This was a huge undertaking and a very long creative process that involved everyone in Fine Arts to pull it off.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job as director of dance? Everything! There is very little I don’t enjoy.

What is one of your biggest challenges teaching so many students? I have found that having a mix of levels and experience is great. It helps to push students at a lower level to strive harder and allows for those who have more experience to have a chance to lead.

What is your favorite kind of dance? Being classically trained my first love is ballet. However, my experience in college led me to modern/contemporary dance where the discipline has great room for creativity.

What is your favorite book/movie/musical artist? I don’t know that I have a favorite book (I read a lot), however I do have some favorite authors/poets/dramatists… Edith Wharton, Harper Lee, Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote,  Lillian Hellman and Tennessee Williams. As far as movies, I love character-driven dramas. Musical artists are difficult but here are some I can always listen to Mozart, Bach, Mumford and Sons, Max Richter, Glass Animals, Sylvan Esso, and The Beatles.

If you could have dinner with someone who is dead, who would it be? Audrey Hepburn –  a woman with great style who was herself an aspiring dancer until WWII. She was a wonderful performing artist, but more importantly a great humanitarian for her incredible work with UNICEF.

What is your biggest pet peeve? Lazy people.