Director, Order My Steps Christian Dance Studio
Bachelor of Arts in Dance, UNC Charlotte (2010)
Patrice Commodore is striving to uplift and transform the east Charlotte community through dance and ministry. In 2010, she established Order My Steps, Christian Dance Company (OMS). Her intentions are to make dance accessible to anyone despite their age or any other perceived form of adversity, whether social or economic. Patrice’s philosophy is simple, “Dance is for everyone.” You can enter her studio on any given Friday and see children as young as three and adults as old as 60 dancing. “There is a whole segment of the population who have been left behind for various reasons," she says. "We seek to eliminate the barriers, for we understand the benefits of dance for the mind, body and spirit. The studio is a place of invention and discovery that goes beyond choreographic steps. In many ways the studio is a metaphor for life, a place to take risk, create, share, and discover.”
It was at UNC Charlotte, under the supportive direction of former Dance Department Chair Pamela Sofras and dance education professor Diane McGee-Valley, that Patrice developed a passion for teaching. She speaks with pride about studying under the tutelage of Professor McGee-Valley: “Professor McGee was a genius in the classroom. She understands dance but she also understands people and values the things that make us unique. Thus, I was always encouraged to trust myself and find my own voice.” That belief in self is something that she passes on to her students. “OMS does not serve to encourage competition, but instead it serves to acknowledge the gifts of each student and build on those gifts so that they may be shared with one another and the community as a source of hope and inspiration.”
When beginning to look for competent, passionate people to support her vision, Patrice started right here at home in Charlotte, NC. Five out of the six teachers are not only alumni of UNC Charlotte, but are also teachers for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Their specialties range from dance education and elementary education, to special education. "Their diversity, heart for teaching, and depth of knowledge and training is exactly what is needed to breathe life into the east Charlotte community."