Saying Goodbye to Sarah Putterman

Dance teacher in rehearsal with students

Sarah Putterman, 35, has impacted many of the students at William Peace University as a dance teacher for the past eight years, sharing her passion for dance and being a constant encouragement to her students.  
“I feel like Sarah Putterman is really making me a better dancer,” says Mitchell Mulkey, a senior at WPU.
Many of the students were devastated when they found out that this was going to be Putterman’s last semester. Her class is the best part of the week for a lot of them.
“She’s helped me feel more comfortable in my dance ability and dance quality,” says Jesse Farmer, a sophomore at WPU. “I don’t want her to leave because she is brilliant and amazing and everything a dance teacher should be.”
This is her last semester at WPU because she is moving to Boston, Massachusetts where her husband has gotten his dream job at MIT. It breaks her heart to be leaving because she has loved seeing the progress of the theatre program and all the students she has come in contact with over the years.
“The students that I have met, that are now graduated, and they’re adults, and now they’re my friends and it’s such a rewarding relationship,” says Putterman.
She was born in Queens, NY but has lived in Raleigh for most of her life. Like most dancers she started taking ballet classes at the age of 3.
“I was immediately hooked, I immediately wanted to do nothing else but ballet,” says Putterman.
Putterman loves dance for many reasons: for the rush she gets from performing on stage, getting to show what she can do and the discipline and structure that is required in a ballet class.
“All I ever thought I would do in my life was be a dancer,” says Putterman.
And that is what she did, but it wasn’t easy for her. There were a lot of challenges that she has had to go through. During her freshman year of college at George Washington University she broke her hip and had to drop out because she lost her dance scholarship.
Anorexia has also been something she has had to face. It tends to be a common thing in the ballet world where skinnier is better. Anorexia was almost encouraged at the ballet studio Putterman attended when she was around 11.
“We had weigh-ins on Saturday morning in front of everybody,” says Putterman. “You had to get on a scale and they would shout out your weight.”
At age 16, Putterman met a teacher who would impact her life in more ways than one. Kirstie Spadie, who now runs North Carolina Dance Institute, helped Putterman through her hip injury and encouraged her to not give up dance. She also gave Putterman her first dance teaching job and Sarah’s been with her ever since.
“I feel like I owe her a lot,” says Putterman.
Now her passion for performing has turned into a passion for teaching dance. She enjoys getting to interact and see her students’ progress in technique and see some of them develop the same love that she has for dance.
“There’s something about sharing what I love so much with other people in a more intimate way,” says Putterman.
Putterman doesn’t know what to expect when she moves to Boston at the end of this semester, but she does know that dance will continue to play some role in her life.

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