Shanon TateBy Nicole Jordan
At 10 years old, Shanon Tate started dancing—and she hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in dance and taught modern and jazz techniques at Brookhaven College for more than 20 years.
Now 47, she cultivates a love of dance in others as a modern dance instructor at The Ballet Conservatory and director of LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2.
Demanding at times, it’s a career Tate adores and balances adeptly with caring for her family of four.
Her husband of 18 years, Tommy, co-owner of a graphic design company, has been in her life since middle school. And then there are the couple’s two boys: Evan, 17, and Zachary, 6.
“It’s been interesting having them spaced so far apart,” says the Highland Village mom. “As new parents, we were very protective of Evan—definitely more helicopter parents. We’re letting go a little bit more now.”
Did you always want to be a mom? It was one of those things in the back of my mind. I’m so glad they’re both in my life because, man, they’ve changed me, for sure.
How so? You can’t be selfish anymore. And I have two going through such different places in life. One is getting ready to go to college and one is learning how to read so you have to meet them where they are and tone down the self-absorption.
What’s it like being a boy mom? I love it. I work with lots of girls at the studio, and boys are just a little easier to handle. They’re a lot of fun.
How do you feel about Evan nearing graduation? This year is going to be important. We have to start doing all the applications and visiting schools. It’s a little daunting, but I think we can do it.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom? That my children still give me hugs—even the oldest one.
Most difficult thing about motherhood? It’s easy to try to be their friend. For me, it’s putting my foot down.
If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself as a new mom? Put the phone down, spend as much time with your kids as possible and the laundry can wait.
What do you love most about teaching dance? The kids. It’s so much fun to go in there with a concept in mind and get them all twisted up in these crazy positions.
Have you ever imagined a different career path? I actually never have. There are so many different aspects of [my job]. Not only am I a teacher and director, but I’m on the board of directors. There’s the whole paperwork side of it, assisting with grants and logistics of putting shows together. It’s not just dancing.
What’s your favorite place to see dance in Dallas-Fort Worth? TITAS Presents at Winspear Opera House.
Can you imagine a time when dance is not part of your world? My time is limited. I’m going to try to get the most out of my body that I can. But I would always like to be involved in dance and art, whether it’s producing it or being on the board of an organization.
How do you like to spend time as a family? We like to find fun, new restaurants and go see movies.
Do you have a favorite restaurant? The most interesting one we went to recently was Kula in Carrollton.
Favorite way to spend date night? We take Zachary to Adventure Kids Playcare and just go to a restaurant and talk. Shoal Creek Tavern is nice and quiet.
How do you feed yourself? To recharge I have to be by myself so I try to carve out a little time. I also like to do projects. I’m working on refurbishing a few steamer trunks. We just painted the outside of our house. I volunteer at my church.
If you had to pick a few words to describe yourself, what would they be? I’m like the nutty professor. I try not to take myself too seriously and think there’s fun in everything.
Do you have a motto or mantra you live by? There was a movie that came out in 2005 called Robots, and one of the character’s motto was, “See a need, fill a need.” I’m kind of like that.
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