Joee Schapiro has been teaching in the Houston area for the past 49 years. She was an active member of both Dance Masters of America (26 years) and the South Texas Association of Dance Teachers and a former regional director of The League for the Betterment of Dance Education and Dance Educators of America. Ms. Schapiro was one of only 35 teachers in the United States that was nationally recognized to give DMA certification exams in Classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and Ball Room.
Miss Schapiro began her dance education when she was six years old and had continued taking classes throughout her professional and teaching career. She has performed in summer stock productions, beginning with Edgar Bergin in You Can’t Take it With You, and continuing with such shows as God Bless Our Bank with Ann Southern, Carnival with Maria Allbergetti, and Paint Your Wagon with Montgomery Cliff.
She played Gloria in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and had major speaking roles in Ask Any Girl, The Lark, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Knute Rocknie. Miss Schapiro was featured as a principle dancer in such musicals as Brigadoon, Lil Abner, Bye Bye Birdie, Carnival, and was a featured dancer with the Tri-Cities Opera Company in New York and danced in the movie Urban Cowboy.
Among the musicals she has choreographed, both in Houston and New York, are Oliver, Brigadoon, Lil Abner, Bye Bye Birdie and Les Miserables. Miss Schapiro actually began her professional career at 11 years old when she was accepted in the New York Rep Company and hosted her own TV show that featured Elementary School activities. At 9 years of age she auditioned for the original Mickey Mouse Club and a cute girl with dark curly hair got her spot. At the age of 18, she toured with several nightclub shows in New York and in Las Vegas where she danced adagio with her partner Collie Valdez.
She has attended the University of Houston (main campus) as a theatrical set design and lighting major under the direction of Lee Watson: president of the International Lighting Design Union and the (Clear Lake campus) as a dance major. The semester before she was to leave for New York City to sit for her Union Exams, she met Patsy Swayze and found the teacher that changed her life and encouraged her to become a teacher.
Miss Schapiro has taught on several national faculties and for Dance Masters of America. She has judged dance competitions for American Showcase, Rainbow Connection, and IDC. Her students have won many Regional and National Competition titles. Her students Mandy Dalton and Susan Collins hold the unsurpassed record for Under Ice, a modern duet that was awarded 11 PERFECT scores.
The highlight of her teaching career came in the summer of 1982, when she taught American Jazz and Tap at the Cinema de Vicorine, in Nice, France. She is very proud of the fact that many of her students have gone on to professional careers in dance in New York, Las Vegas, Dallas, Atlantic City, Italy, Japan and Canada as wells as dancing for the Rockets, Texans, Mavericks, Cowboys and Saints. Several of her students now operate their own dance studios in Texas, Virginia, California.
Miss Joee takes great care to provide an excellent faculty and staff to nurture the children’s dance education. Our mission it to keep alive the conservative family values that provide a positive goal for each student based in traditional teaching methods and reject what is trendy or popular in music, attire and choreography if it does not create a good self image for each student.