Dance and Science: Juggling Two Hats

For as long as she can remember, Marissa has always had a love for dance.

From choreographing routines to music videos in her living room on a Sunday morning, to obsessing over the hit movie Centre Stage, dance was always going to be in the picture. 

Wanting nothing more than to wear a tutu and dance on a stage, Marissa was enrolled in dance at the age of eight, training in the classical styles of ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary.

She completed dance exams right the way through her schooling years, before moving dance studios and becoming an instructor.

“I always wanted to share my passion for dance with those around me, so I was extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to instruct. I also diversified the dance styles that I trained in, focussing on commercial styles.”, says Marissa.

She even performed at a variety of professional events, including the Oasis Media and TV Choreographers Ball, Masters Building Awards, Mix 94.5’s Brainchild Ball, REIWA Awards, Perth Symphony Orchestras Nirvana Tribute Concert, and more!


Fast forward to 2022, and Marissa still exudes the same level of passion and enthusiasm as a teacher here at Santa Maria College. Not only does Marissa teach Dance, but also Science.

Two very different subjects means juggling two very different hats. We asked Marissa how this unique mix all came about.

“I am highly interpersonal and love collaborating and sharing with others. I have always had a passion for human biology and science which is why I initially began studying Physiotherapy at university”, says Marissa.

“Over time, through tutoring and teaching dance, I realised that I found teaching others most rewarding, which is why I decided to study a Bachelor of Secondary Education, majoring in Science! I absolutely love it when students have that ‘light bulb moment’ where you can hear through their fabulous questions or see the smile on their face that they are understanding a concept for the first time.”, adds Marissa.

Dance and Science – you couldn’t find two more polar opposite subjects if you tried. Whilst some may see this as a challenge worth avoiding, Marissa uses it to her advantage. 

“I believe that the creative aspect that enables me to teach dance helps me to create new and innovative science lessons. To the same token, the critical thinking approach I have to science, allows me to teach dancing technically and creatively.”

The most rewarding part for Marissa personally is being able to see students use their skill sets in two different areas.

“It also allows me to build a rapport and connect with the girls through engaging in different settings. It also challenges me to ensure that I am diversifying my pedagogy and staying organised!”, adds Marissa.

Since starting at Santa Maria in 2020, Marissa has built and leveraged strong relationships with her students and colleagues. We asked what inspires her to come to work each day and continue doing what she loves.

“My beautiful students I teach! Each time I see them engage in my lessons, it inspires me to constantly strive to teach content in a way that is both stimulating and enriching.”, says Marissa.

“I am also inspired by my colleagues and love constantly working from them. My parents are also a huge inspiration for me as they have always supported and guided me to be the best version of myself”.

In the future, Marissa hopes to continue sharing her love for science and dance through teaching. Developing her leadership skills and one day holding a leadership position, is also on the list for Marissa.

I’m sure we can all agree that she is well on her way, to achieving everything she wants and more.

Thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Marissa!

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