Almost Time to Show the World!

The date of the 2013 Capstone showcase has been announced! On December 7th at 3:00pm The Real Dance Mom will be publicly viewed and everything I’ve been working on for the past year will come to a close.

So many emotions pass through me as I found out when I’d be showing my project. I’m excited, nervous and relieved all at the same time.  I hope that those who watch it will see a different aspect of dancers than they would on TV.  Showing this project is not only a big deal because its capstone but also because Dance has been a part of my life so long, especially Jennifer, and I’m sharing a piece of me that I love so much.  I have faith that those who view my piece will feel a connection to Jennifer and see my reasoning for choosing her as my capstone subject. At the same time, having the project complete and turned in for a grade will be a huge weight off my shoulders and senior year will hopefully be so much more relaxing!!Image

I will definitely invite Jennifer and her family, as well as some of her students. My family, friends, and professors will be there as well! But I would like to extend my invitation out to all of you! Again on December 7th at 3pm The Real Dance Mom will make its big debut at Westminster College! A classmate of mine, Anthony Humes, will also be showing his work entitled, Apple Castle: Straight To The Core. His  documentary takes a look at a local family business and the history behind it.


We both would appreciate the support and possible feedback as well! Hope to see you there!


I Will Not Be Afraid Of What I Do Not Know

In order to graduate here at Westminster, one has to complete a specific set of ‘elective classes’ to contribute to our liberal arts education. One of the classes required of us students is a Religion/Philosophy class.  Most people do their best to get these classes done in their freshman and sophomore year and then concentrate on their major. Nope not me! I waited last minute (AKA Senior year) to take a class that is required to graduate.

 Needless to say I’ve been dreading to take this class, as I’ve never really studied something as such. I decided to go with a Philosophy class since I don’t know too much about the subject and thought it may be interesting.  The class is called Problems of Philosophy taught by Professor Goldberg.  When I told some friends I was taking this class with Dr. Goldberg, they all gave me the look that I should be afraid, very afraid.

 I sat quietly in my seat as I waited for Dr. Goldberg to enter the classroom and begin to teach.  As he started to lecture I soon realized this is not a man I should be afraid of.  This was not the man I was expecting to be teaching class. He is so passionate and knowledgeable about his profession.  He’s not the typical boring lecturer.


Image Source: Facebook

He presents his lectures with an animated approach and compares philosophical ideas with real life experiences.  Not only that, but he welcomes student’s interpretations and answers to questions he presents. No matter if the answer is correct or not he accepts it and that is more than you could ask for in a teacher. I’ve definitely had my share of classes where I was so terrified to even speak because I didn’t want to get shut down. I was surprised to come to the realization that I could answer questions in this class and speak up with out being afraid, especially in a subject that is not my concentration.

 I know this doesn’t seem to have much to do with my documentary process, but in a way it does. I was so afraid of the unknown but now I look forward to going to this class.  Now, I’ve never made a documentary and for a while I’ve been afraid of the process and concerned that the finished product will not come out as I have been hoping.  But after finding myself engaged in a class that I thought I had no clue what would be going on I have more confidence than ever.

There is no reason to be afraid of the unknown. These things should be embraced and taken as learning experiences.  Just because I’ve never created a documentary before does not mean that I will fail. I truly thank Dr. Goldberg for being an amazing professor and giving me the confidence to proceed with my project, even if he doesn’t know he’s helping. 

Appreciation Is The Inspiration

As you grow you learn to appreciate things differently than you have before. I will admit, when I was in high school I was the girl who would argue for hours that dancing is a sport. I neglected, however, that dancing is actually an expressional form of art. Through my experience as a teacher, and a few years in age difference, I have come to see that my heart is truly happy when I am dancing. I think that is what inspired me the most when choosing a topic for a project that I knew I would be spending a lot of time with.  But I also saw how the media had been portraying dance, and felt this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate Westminster’s Service Learning Mission.

This documentary debunks those stereotypes created by ‘Dance Moms’ as it takes an in depth look on a real dance teacher. It shows Jennifer’s passion for dance has never died even after having a family. Furthermore, it shows her struggle to keep her students focused on growing their own passion for dance. It also demystifies the stereotypes of girls in dance classes that have been created by the media.

ImageBesides getting real world career experience, I am bettering my self as a person as I make this film. Jennifer has always been a role model to me and it’s so interesting to hear stories about when she was younger and her dancing experience. She has also shared with me tips and tricks for teaching my own dance classes. I’m benefiting from this project not only in a technical broadcast aspect, but I am also growing as a dance teacher too. By doing this project I am developing skills as a dancer, with my own passion, and as a broadcast student, putting all of the concepts I’ve learned in class to great use. 

Mother Knows Best!

I have known Jennifer Grimes my whole life, as she has been my dance teacher since I was two. When it comes to knowing factual information for my project I have a pretty good inclination on Jenn’s life. So when I had to find a second consultant to check my facts I knew her mother Cathy Nelson was the just the right person.

Image Not only did Cathy raise Jennifer, and knows every detail of her life, but she is also the studio secretary and runs the front desk. Cathy does everything from handling tuition payments to ordering costumes. She is my go to girl when I want to double check my facts, and has great stories to tell about Jennifer’s childhood. 

Being that Cathy is very knowledgeable on her daughter’s life she was a HUGE help when it came to creating my documentary outline. We went through monumental steps, positive and negative, to form what I believe to be a strong outline of Jennifer’s life and story for my project. We touched base on her childhood dance career, husband, kids, and personal conflicts within her struggle to balance business and family. 

Cathy is very excited about the project and hopes it brings dance students who believe that what the media has created about the “dance world” is not always true. She also believes it will help them view the more passionate side of the art. 

I can’t thank Cathy enough for all her help that she has already provided and I am excited to learn more things about Jennifer that I may have never known until starting this project.

Decisions, Decisions.

One may say that I can take a little bit of time to make decisions but I do think that once I make up my mind I have made the best decision possible. I always appreciate a second opinion on any project when I’m struggling to find confidence in my work. The whole documentary process brings up a lot of decision making, so obviously, having someone who is in the creative communications field is a big help when it comes to ‘The Real Dance Mom’.


Colleen Burke was my go to professor when it came to finding a consultant for my project. Being that my documentary is focusing on a wife, mother, and successful business woman, I knew Dr. Burke would be the perfect fit. Not only is she currently engaged to be married but she also has kids and can relate to being a full time mother while having a very successful career.

When I first brought my project to Dr. Burke’s attention she had mentioned that my take on the whole idea of being a mother and running the business as she struggles to teach her students that the media isn’t always right, was a fabulous idea. Once I asked Dr.Burke to be my advisor for my project, she jumped right on board!

Dr. Burke has been a professor here at Westminster College since 2002, serving as an Associate Professor in Communications Studies, Theatre, and Art. She has also worked with Broadcast students on their documentaries in the past and I look forward to getting her feedback.

I would like to thank Dr. Burke for her confidence in my idea and joining me through the process of making my first documentary.

Meet Jennifer: The Real Dance Mom


Jennifer Grimes, 36, has been studying dance for 30 years with nineteen years of teaching experience. She is a certified dance instructor and has completed courses and graduated with honors from the Dance Master’s of America Teacher’s Training School at the University at Buffalo in New York. She is also a member of Dance Master’s of Ohio Chapter #16 and a member of the Christopher Professional Dance Association. She has also studied with internationally known dancers including Bob Rizzo, Jeff Shade, and Charles McGowan who was the lead character in “The Chorus Line” movie. 

At age 16 Jennifer began her journey as a teacher, nearly ten years later she became co-owner of a new dance studio, Dance Implosion. After a rough patch with the other co-owner, Jennifer decided to go on her own, opening what is now known as Jennifer Leigh’s Dance Gallery.

Along the way, Jennifer managed to continue on with her life. At age 27, Jennifer got married in Aruba to her husband Jeff. Within a year they had their first child, Noah.  Almost 10 years later Jennifer now has four healthy children, Noah (8), Nevaeh (6), Niyah (3), Neelah (10 months), and her dance studio. Somehow she manages to keep up with her business and also raise a family. 

A lot of media is out there for people to watch that is revolved around dance. The hit Lifetime show “Dance Moms” is featured due to the stereotypes it has created in the dance world. Many students, and mothers, at Jennifer Leigh’s Dance Gallery watch the show and believe that the show is how dancing works. They do not realize that many elements of the show may not be reality due to the producers attempt to get ratings. This documentary is going to debunk the stereotypes created by the show and expose the hard work and dedication it takes to be ‘The Real Dance Mom’. I will share with you the struggles she goes through to show her students its about their passion, not what the media has defined dancing to be.

I invite you all to follow Jennifer’s journey of balancing her business, her family, and her dance family. It should be an interesting year too! Jennifer, for the first time since beginning to teach, has decided not to choreograph this year and to focus on the technique of her students and bettering their dancing journey. 



Hello all! My name is Chelsea Haybarger! I’m just beginning a serious life step.. My senior year of College. That’s right, pretty soon I’ll be in the real world with everyone else; released into the wild after being kept in a zoo, if you will. But until then I will be blogging about a very special project I am taking on that is near and dear to my heart. 

Being a dancer since the age of two, I have developed a serious love and passion for the art. Not only have I been on the student side, but I am now an instructor. I am very blessed to get paid to do what I love and with people I love. The owner of the studio I teach at has been my instructor since I began my dance journey and has become a role model to me. 

With that said, I am embarking on a journey to produce a documentary about the studio owner’s life as well as touching on the media’s effect on the dance world. I’m here to share the story of a real dance teacher and her journey to help her students realize its more important to have passion for what they do, rather than worry about what the media has defined dance to be. 

Stay tuned to meet the woman who shared her passion with me and has inspired me to create this film!