Each year, CNADM recognizes one member who has gone above and beyond in advocating for our association…running a successful studio…and promoting the dance arts to make a positive impact on the community. Donna Ziegler, former owner and artistic director of Willow Street Dance Theatre in Mokena, IL, is that member.
Donna has been a tireless supporter of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, since she joined the association in 1993 and is celebrating her 25-year membership service this summer.
She earned her CDE in 1996 and soon after was able to purchase her teacher’s dance studio, subsequently renamed Willow Street Dance Theatre, in the late 1990s. Donna continued to participate in the CNADM dance workshops personally, as well as bringing students from the studio every Summer and Fall. She earned her MDE in 2003.
She joined the CNADM Board of Directors in 2004 and served right up to 2018, when she resigned to move back to her native Australia. While on the Board, Donna Ziegler served in many committee roles including serving on the Principal’s Committee, the Competition Committee and as Secretary of the Board. Additionally, Donna was the “go-to” board member who would step in to choreograph/teach to fill a hole in the schedule, and she has taught the Parents Classes every summer for the past twelve years.
Back home, Donna was always a second mom to the students at Willow Street. She feels strongly that the students need to have a strong grounding in dance technique, but they also need to have fun! “She taught us grace, perseverance, and strength, among so many other life lessons. She taught us to laugh at our mistakes and try again. I will carry her lessons throughout my life and always carry her in my heart,” states one senior student.
Known for her award-winning choreography, Donna has loved sharing her passion of dance with all of her students, as well as teaching master classes throughout the United States. Now, 28 years later, Donna has handed the studio reins to another CNADM student and now member, Jayme Radeke, and has returned to Australia to spend time with family. She’s already jumped into teaching down under and I’m sure that she’ll make the same impact in Australia that she made here.
Congratulations to Donna Ziegler, our CNADM Outstanding Member of 2018.