Dashiell School of Dancing Continues to Share Lessons of Good Character

By: Ashley Winterstein
Although the Dashiell School of Dancing has only officially been a Character Counts! “Business of Character” in the community for 7 years, owner Wally Dashiell has logged over 60 years of sharing the importance of good character with her dance students.

Currently, forty-five students are enrolled in the Dashiell School of Dancing, located in historic Stevensville. Dashiell offers jazz, tap, and ballet lessons for children aged three to eighteen and currently teaches all the classes herself, with the help of two student assistants.

Dashiell has always set high expectations for her students, requiring them to be courteous, polite, and respectful to their instructors and to each other. Dashiell also expects each person to give their very best on and off the dance floor. She explains that “dance is a discipline that carries over into life.” The discipline she enforces in her studio, along with the personal example she sets, has obviously paid off, as Dashiell admits, “My students are always picked out (of a crowd) for their good character.”

At a 60th Anniversary Celebration held in 2009 in honor of Dashiell, it was obvious that she teaches more than just dance. The letters of appreciation and admiration poured in from parents and students alike. Many included words of gratitude for Dashiell’s patience, commitment, and inspiration. One grateful student even thanked Dashiell for “…ultimately revealing to us the wonderful gift of self worth.”

E. Laura Hausmann, a dancer, teacher, and choreographer at the University of New York, sent a letter to Dashiell on her 60th Anniversary stating, “… It is impossible to count how many students are influenced by the positive and encouraging experiences given to them from their study with Wally. Wally enriches so many. Mrs. Wally Dashiell exudes honesty and integrity throughout her school in the realm of dance…”

The dancing experience and credentials behind Dashiell are numerous. She joined the Dance Masters of America, Inc. in 1949 and has attended the Teachers Training School and multiple Conventions over the years in order to continue correctly training her students. She received her “Member of the Year Award” in 1996 and her “50 Year Membership Award” in 1999 from this national organization.

While this is impressive itself, Dashiell has not stopped adding to her award collection. Last August, she brought home four gold medals and three silver medals from the National Senior Games, held in California. At 85 years of age, she participated in and won the hammer throw, the high jump, the triple jump, and the 800 meter run. Dashiell is committed to remaining active and leading a healthy lifestyle.

With this work ethic, commitment to others, and involvement in the community, it is easy to see why Wally Dashiell and the Dashiell School of Dancing are a “Business of Character” in our community.

Jacki Carter, Character Counts! Coordinator, agrees stating, “Wally is a wonderful role model of excellent character not only for her students but for the community as well. She has been an extremely active in the Chamber of Commerce, especially where education is concerned. She has been a staunch supporter of Character Counts! within the education field and within the community. She realizes that all adults need to model those character traits so that our children and youth see them in action and understand their importance in all we do. Thanks Wally for all your wisdom and commitment to building character in our young citizens!”

The Character Counts! Advisory Council would also like to express their appreciation to Wally Dashiell for the character lessons she has shared with her many students over the years. It is important to remember that good character can be shared anytime, anywhere.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Character Counts! program, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org.