Western Wake
Dance Center

Carefully crafted dance instruction delivering technique, artistry...and exciement!
Director Leslie Durand is passionate about ensuring every dancer under her care receives solid dance technique in a nurturing environment.
   
Leslie received her early training at Peggy Stephens School of Dance (later Washington Dance Center), her mother’s southeastern Iowa dance school.  She studied classical ballet during her middle- and high-school years at The University of Iowa in both the youth Talented and Gifted program and in classical ballet classes for dance majors.  Her most influential ballet teacher at Iowa was Françoise Martinet, a founding member of the Robert Joffrey Ballet.  At age 13, she began choregoraphing musicals for the local high school, as well as teaching her own ballet and tumbling classes at Washington Dance Center.  During middle and high school she was also active in community theater.  She attended Northwestern University, where she was a member of the student dance company Graffiti Dancers.  She also studied ballet and jazz at Gus Giordano Dance Center in Evanston, Illinois.  Leslie taught ballet, jazz and tap at the US Army’s Youth Services Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea; The San Marcos Civic Center in San Marcos, California; and at The American School in Japan.  Additionally, she was a choreographer for the Hyundai Cheerleaders, a professional basketball cheerleading troop in Seoul.

Leslie’s strengths as a dance instructor include teaching solid technique, with special emphasis on classical ballet alignment; orchestrating beautifully choreographed and costumed dance recitals, and conducting her classes with exuberance and kindness.

She was offered a dance scholarship to Western Michigan University, but instead chose to study journalism at Northwestern University on a full Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.  After five years' active-duty service as a Naval officer, she returned to her first profession:  dance instruction.  Leslie is married to Jim Durand (United States Naval Academy, USMC (Ret.)); they have three children.  The Durand family has lived in Holly Springs since their return from Tokyo in 2012.