Jill Morris

Owner & Instructor, Stars in Motion

 

How did you get started in dance?

My mom introduced me to dance and music very early on. We were dancing in the kitchen to whatever came on the radio. Although she did not have formal training, she had a natural rhythm that she passed on to me. When I was three, she decided it was time for dance lessons so we enrolled at McMillan and Thompson dance school where she knew I would certainly be a star. Reality is that we both cried through the whole first lesson! But she encouraged me to keep going and I fell in love with all every style I tried. I continued lessons throughout my childhood and high school, adding in musical theater and dance team. Every free moment of my life as was occupied with some type of dance practice. And in all honesty it still is!

 

 

How did you turn your passion into a business?

As I continued to explore dance in other parts of our region and across the country, I discovered that I had been less prepared than I could have been. I began to study the language and vocabulary associated with ballet as well as the physical aspect of dance. I have scoliosis and have practiced Pilates as a form of physical therapy since I was in sixth grade. Using what I had learned about my own body through that practice and all I knew about physics, I soon became very aware that dance is an applied science. I wanted to share that with the next generation that they might be better prepared for any type of movement. An opportunity to open a studio came about in 1997 and after much prayer, Stars In Motion was born. 

 

 

What’s your day-to-day like? Is there a such thing as a regular schedule? 

Every day is different. Every day is long. But every day is fun! The day begins with scripture and prayer and then I glance at my calendar. I teach fitness classes, Mom and Tot, and preschool classes during the daytime and begin dance classes each day right after school, followed by more fitness classes and private lessons. I typically teach until around 9:00 or 9:30. Then I head into the office for administrative work, planning and marketing until 11 o' clock or so. With competitions, performances and added rehearsals, I typically work seven days a week. I'm a member of all the chambers, DeSoto County Business Women and attend DeSoto County Tourism Council; so I usually have a meeting or three each week. In the summer, we run camps and dance Intensives every week so the hours get longer and the work load increases. I take off a week in December, one week in July and two weeks in August. And I look forward to lunch with my husband, Mike, after church each week. 

 

 

What would you be doing if you weren't doing this? 

I can't imagine not teaching dance and fitness. But I do have other interests. I have two books that I'm working on. I also paint. I suppose I would work in marketing. I'm extremely grateful for all those who have put their trust in me over the past 20 years. Whatever the future holds, I intend to always give back to the community. 

 

What's the toughest part of ballet?

Making it look easy. 

 

 

Do you have any advice to young women with an interest in your field?

Take business classes. Be prepared to continue to learn throughout your career. Be open to the fact that you do not know everything, and when it comes to dance we really know very little as it continues to evolve. Stay true to yourself, go where the Lord leads you, take wise counsel, be honest, be nice, admit when you're wrong then work to make it right. Be prepared to face obstacles, fight for what you believe in, stick to your values. 

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