Teacher Feature: Betsy Ward-Hutchinson
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Betsy Ward-Hutchinson is the one of the newest additions to the Durham Academy family. She is taking over the dance program at the Upper School, teaching everything from Beginning to Advanced Dance while Mrs. McDonald is on maternity leave.
Having been a dance teacher for 35 years, Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson has plenty of experience, even as a child. “I used to be a teacher’s assistant when I was a kid in the dance studio,” she said. “I loved working with little ones when I was growing up.” Much of her career reminds her of her youth, as her favorite part of dance is “that it always feels like I’m playing, like I’m a kid again, and I can just play and move.”
With an undergraduate degree in dance from Meredith College and a graduate degree from UNC, Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson taught most recently at Cary Academy but has also taught at the Ballet School in Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro and City Ballet in Raleigh.
As Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson adapts to the new school, she praises the DA community. “I love it,” she said, smiling. “I think that it’s a very open community, very generous, and very kind. I think the students are great here.”
Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson spoke of her excitement to teach and her readiness to share her love of dance with the DA community as well.“I am hopeful that the dancers at DA will be inspired to continue dancing in some way. I try to focus on dance as a way for us to connect with each other in the world.” However, she jokingly confessed, “I’m really good at bossing people around.”
When not in the studio, you can find Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson reading, working in her garden, or binge-watching Netflix. Her favorite series? “I love ‘Orange Is the New Black,’” she admitted.
With a teaching job at Arts Together and Evolve Movement in Raleigh, two dogs, one cat, and a bike-loving husband (he is the owner of All Star Bike Shops), Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson has plenty on her plate. “[My husband] is almost always on his bike, so I have to ride to keep up with him,” she joked.
While Durham Academy is the one who gets to welcome Betsy Mrs. Ward-Hutchinson to the DA community, she added, “I feel very lucky to be here. I feel so fortunate to have to the opportunity to teach dance at DA, and I am grateful to the students who have been so warm and receptive. I know that they miss their wonderful teacher [Mrs. McDonald], and I just want to say thank you to everyone at DA for being so generous and kind.”