Instructor Spotlight: Betsy Struxness

List five words that best describe you?
Creative, Capable, Assertive, Active, Ambitious

What inspired you to teach dance and fitness?
I have been dancing my entire life.  In the latter years of my theatrical career, as my experiences have accumulated, the respect for me and my craft did not.  Through teaching I’ve been able to impart a lot of knowledge onto a vast array of students, from grade school to adulthood, through Broadway masterclasses as well as through WERQ Dance Fitness. Taking the helm of a classroom allows me a greater chance to earn the respect I’m seeking.  The fitness aspect comes from the fact that I am aggressively active.  I’m not really a yoga person, although it would be so good for me if I were. I’m a kick boxer, martial artist, cyclist, runner, hiker, what have you.  So dance fitness is perfect for me and I haven’t found a better program for that than WERQ.  As a technical dancer, WERQ allows me to play and remain challenged, and as a teacher, I have the chance to spread the joy of dance to people of all ages and ability levels, because the structure completely works on a basic human level.  The joy I see on people’s faces, as well as my own, after a WERQ class is all the inspiration I need to keep it up.

What would you like your students to know about you?
I’m not a typical dance fitness instructor.  I’ve been a performer for 30 years and I bring that into the classroom. With WERQ, each song brings a different persona, a different energetic output and a different vibe.  I like to fully embrace those differences, making my class very dynamic and entertaining, but not all hype all the time, much like me.  I think about the participants every time I put together a playlist.  I think about the brain challenges, the physical output and the stamina behind it all.  I like to challenge people, because ultimately I think people LIKE to be challenged, but most importantly I LOVE dance and want to share it with others in a really fun and celebratory way.  THAT is WERQ. 

What are your favorite hobbies and interests?
I love taking my dog out for hikes on all the various trails Los Angeles and the environs have to offer.  I’m also a photographer and an avid traveler.  The beach is my happy place and I’ll be trying to get there at least once a week now that the weather is really warming up.  I really love creating though and spend most of my free time writing, making little films and videos as well as putting together photo shoots. 

At what age did you begin dancing? 
I began dance training at age 4, but had a natural ability to mimic movement from an even younger age.  Wanting to teach, however is quite recent.  I started teaching while still on Broadway.  Mainly masterclasses having to do with whichever show I was involved in at the time.  Once I took a break from theater, I was still teaching Hamilton masterclasses, but then at the top of 2017, I broke my knee.  A couple months after, I attended a fitness conventions with my sister, WERQ founder and CEO, Haley Stone, and “took” her class.  I was very much still recovering, so was only hobbling in the back, but KILLING it with my arms.  It felt like freedom.  It felt like I’d gotten some life back.  Because WERQ was so much fun, and there is always new choreography to learn, I could basically dance to whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and it always perked me up.  It took my participation in dance out of the hands of others and put it back in mine.  It gave me so much joy that I wanted to share that with my dance friends in NY, so I started having little pop-ups here and there.  Once I moved to LA, I knew I wanted to teach on a more regular basis, and here we are.