A Heart-Centred Approach to Dance, Business and Life

Interview with Kristin Werner by Hanan Awaad 

Kristin Werner with Hanan Awaad
Kristin Werner with Hanan Awaad

I met her at an event for business women in Kitchener, Ontario; tall, graceful with a bright smile. We talked about many things, her love of dancing and her passion for empowering her students.

Q. Kristin, you are the founder of Star Performance Academy, what made you take the decision to start your dance and music academy?

I’ve been singing and dancing as long as I remember.  I know how an education in the performing arts benefitted me. As I began teaching in my teenage years and I was hooked, when I saw what it did for my students.  I chose to offer dance, music and acting in one place, because of the amount of time I spent in a car going from lesson to lesson.  My hope is that families can put more lessons back to back, in one location, making more time for family.

Q. Was it an easy decision?

At the time, I knew it was what I wanted to do, but the logistics were a question mark.  Would people want to study with me, work with me?  Those were big questions, but I knew I had to try!

Your Academy won Gold awards several times within the Region of Waterloo. What are the factors that contributed and helped you build a reputable business in such a competitive environment?

Our ‘Star Family’ might better be able to answer this question.  I hear that we have a family atmosphere that is easy to be around, instructors that the students enjoy, and parents feel we are organized which is helpful too.  I want to see our students progressing, learning and having fun, and our families that make the Star Family feel welcome and heard.


I like to inspire my students to lead themselves toward their goals
I like to inspire my students to lead themselves toward their goals
Q. Do you consider yourself a good leader?

Strangely, that word isn’t common in my internal vocabulary.  I feel as though I have a strong team of staff and instructors and enjoy input and expertise from all.  I’m always out looking for new systems, opportunities and programs for the studio and am eager to hear what my team thinks and how it could benefit them in their work with our families and students.  As for leading my students, that is natural with the structure of the class.  I like to inspire them to lead themselves toward their goals.

Q. You have developed a unique approach to teaching dance and music and coaching kids, you name it “heart-centred approach to competitive dance,” tell us more about your approach and what made you think that we need a new approach to competitive dance?  

In my experience, I am still surprised by the amount of “toughen-them-up” approach to teaching our kids in competitive dance.  For me, I hope to inspire my students to want to better themselves in their art and look ahead to their goals, reaching them with hard work and to take pride in themselves.  I can only do that if I teach from the heart and work to inspire my students to lead with theirs through their training.  I don’t want them to fear failure; I want them to love every step of the journey along the way.

Originally posted 2017-03-10 16:43:07.

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