Teacher shares love of dance
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:51AM
It could be said that La Verne Lehman loves life.
After all, her nickname is “Lovey.”
“I’m a dancer, but primarily, I’m a teacher and a choreographer,” said Lehman, at her Lehman School of Dance, which has been at its 301 S. Happ Road, Northfield, location for 23 years. She relocated her business to Northfield in the early 1990s after being in Glencoe since 1968, is proud of her legacy.
She began her studies at age five with two ballet classes per week. At age 15, she began teaching, also choreographing numerous shows. A Glenview resident since 1965, Lehman has two children, Vicki Gutmann and Scott Lehman, both of Round Lake.
Q. Lovey, it sounds like you’re a fixture on the North Shore.
A. Yes, yes. We teach more than dance. You’re teaching life lessons, you’re teaching self respect, how to use your body, what’s important, making decisions.
Q. Lovey, your youngest dancers enjoy scarves to dance with. What’s the gentle message?
A. They get to choose two scarves, two colors, two of the same, whatever they want. It takes them a long time to make this decision, but it is a choice, and once they make that choice, if they see that their friend has chosen something else, I say, ‘You know what, you can do that next time. I like the choice you made this time. Stick with it.’ So, it really … that sounds simple, but to a 3-, 4-, 5-year-old, that’s a huge lesson.
Q. How do your youngest students use the scarves?
A. Well, sometimes we are flowers and we’re going to plant ourselves in a garden. So we get down on the floor and we, you know, become seeds (gestures with arms here to show how the upper body is compact before blooming) with water and the sun and grow and here’s our flowers. And we’re magic and we’re dancing flowers. Then each child gets a turn to dance. Or, we’re flying things. We’re butterflies, birds, snowflakes, rain.
Q. So scarves symbolize much, right Lovey?
A. Yes, and it gets them to use their arm, and to be expressive. And different kinds of music should bring about different movement.
Q. Sticking with a choice, seeing it through. That message via a scarf goes way beyond the soft pastel pinks that also symbolize Valentine’s Day.
A. That’s one of the earliest lessons they should learn because that carries you through life. When things get tough, in school, on a job, with a spouse, you can’t just call it quits and say, ‘Well, it looks better over there.’ So you learn to respect your choices, and to respect yourself. And you can’t really love, or like anybody else until you really respect yourself.