Beth Goldman, or Ms. G., as her students call her, is an inspiration for anyone who has ever had the opportunity to take her dance classes. She is much more than just a teacher, as Goldman moved to the US in 1988 from the Philippines. From an early age, Goldman found that dance was her biggest passion in life. When asked when she started dancing, she responded,
“When I was five years old… I have four sisters, and I’m the youngest. We performed for a community group type of event.”
These community events were where Goldman found her love for choreography, continuing to say, “My sister choreograph[ed] a number and they put me in it! …If you think about it, I guess a similar example would be the Jackson Five, you know? Like siblings [dancing] together.”
Of course, choreography and dance go hand in hand, and when I asked Goldman if she had a preference for one or the other, she insisted that it was impossible for her to choose one.
“Performing in front of an audience gives me a rush … With choreographing, I get to express things that with words, I can’t describe. For me, it’s just about telling a story that certain people are going through… So that’s why there’s no way to choose just one.”
When Goldman came to the United States, she immediately continued following her passion of dance by joining many dance clubs at her middle school in Orange County.
“I never stopped dancing,” she recounted, “And then in high school, I took a dance class, they had a dance program. And then I was in a cheer song. If not dance team. Right? Because it’s pretty similar.”
After high school, Goldman attended Cal State Fullerton for both her undergrad and teaching credentials. In college, Goldman joined one of southern California’s longest-running competitive hip-hop dance companies. “I was in a dance group called Team Millennia. It was a hip-hop dance group, and we competed against other colleges and dance groups.”
Although she was in an exclusive dance group during this time, Goldman wasn’t planning on becoming a professional dancer, much less a dance teacher. “I was a biochem major because I wanted to be a pediatrician. Then, as you know, I continued college, I [decided] it’s not for me. And so I found Kinesiology, the study of human body movement. Since dance was my thing, I decided… I want to be a physical therapist for dancers. I graduated with a degree in kinesiology.”
When asked what made her decide to be a dance teacher rather than a physical therapist, Goldman told the story of her becoming a PE teacher’s assistant. “When I graduated, I got my bachelor’s and found this position at a middle school and it was called ‘PE Tutor’. The teacher had 60 students, she said, ‘I want to divide the class, so you have 30, and we’re gonna rotate them in different sports.’ I asked, ‘Can I teach dance, it is a sport?’ and she was like, ‘Sure,’ so that’s what we did.”
Goldman went on to explain that she was trying to get her Master’s degree in physical therapy while she worked this job, but then when she started working with students and teaching dance she thought, “This is my calling.” Once Goldman figured out that she wanted to become a dance teacher she found a job right away. “I was hired here in 2003. Right when I finished my credential pretty much.”
Although Goldman lived in Santa Barbara when she started this job, she has since moved to Camarillo, yet continues to work here at SBHS, and makes the almost hour-long commute every day. When asked why, Goldman gave an extremely heartwarming answer.
“It was always for the seniors. I always wanted to give the seniors an amazing end of the year concert, and that thought trickled down every year until now… because what about these seniors? What about my seniors next year?” She explained, “I always wanted them to have, like, the best experience… their senior year. So then I didn’t want to leave, because I always had seniors!”
From her beginnings in the Philippines to her role as an inspiring dance teacher in Santa Barbara, Beth Goldman has had a remarkable journey of unwavering passion and dedication to the world of dance. What sets Goldman apart is her profound connection to both performing and choreographing. Her path, initially leading towards a career in medicine, took an unexpected turn when she discovered her true calling as a dance teacher. Her enduring commitment to her students, driven by the desire to provide each senior with a memorable end-of-year concert is truly admirable. In Goldman’s story, we find a dedicated educator who not only follows her passion but also shapes the dreams and aspirations of generations to come.
[Image Credit: Beth Goldman]