We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann Olsen-Bode and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ann, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I take what I do very seriously because I work with children. I realize I am influencing and impacting peoples’ most precious thing in their life – their kids! .

As I work with kids I know that I am affecting their family as well. I do my utmost to help kids become the best that they can be.

I integrate personal development into the teaching of dance and the arts. I think sometimes it gets missed in regular schooling. Self esteem, body positivity, positive thinking techniques, physical as well as mental fitness and the importance of kindness are all things I hope to share with those that I teach and their families.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been in the entertainment business for 40 years. I started off as a professional dancer as a teenager living and working in Los Angeles and eventually in Las Vegas. Yes, I was a show girl! I danced in a beautiful production show called splash at the Riviera Hotel. It was a glamorous time in my life but also quite challenging.

After retiring from the stage I joined a successful production team and became a casting director and dance captain for very successful large production shows in the casino market. I was fortunate to be able to travel the world to exciting destinations in Europe, Africa, Japan and cities around the United States.

I am an expert at reinventing myself. When I met my husband, we decided to move Phoenix. It was a difficult transition going from a fast pace life to one that was more settled. I started looking for some thing I could do that would have impact and is related to the arts. I had always taught dance everywhere I went so I pursued this more seriously.

Eventually that turned into Desert Star Dance. Apparently it was a good choice as it has succeeded for the past 20 years! This has been the most rewarding of all the jobs I have done. It feels the most important as I believe that dance and theater have a huge positive impact on children and some thing I can leave as a legacy and tribute to my teachers before me!

One thing that I believe makes Desert Star unique is that we are not in the business of creating just great dancers but we are interested in helping children become better people. I am dedicated to integrating personal development into the teaching of dance and performing arts. I see a lot of exploitation out there and I don’t find it fair to use children as a way to gain notoriety. I’m focused on the whole person and how I can make positive impact on a students life.. I’m not in it for myself or my own accolades. I’ve already done that. I want to be a mentor who helps a person find their joy.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I just had a few friends come to town and we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens. There’s no better place to see the beauty of the desert. We also took a trip to Sedona. I love that place. It is magical! I live in the East Valley so I love going to downtown Chandler or Gilbert. It’s changed dramatically since I first moved here and has some fun nightlife. Scottsdale definitely has some world class restaurants worth visiting. The other great option when people come to visit is taking in a spring training baseball game.
Love staycations at the amazing Phoenix resorts too! My favorite is Aji spa at Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass. Amazing!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Although there are countless people who helped me to become an accomplished dancer and instructor I’d like to give a shout out to the women who work with me at Desert Star Dance.

They have worked with me for many many years and helped to build a wonderful business that impacts the lives of many. They are part of the reason for the success of the business. They are loyal dedicated and passionate about what they do!

Sherry Fleming
Terri Hartman
Stephanie Stopher
Lisa Hammond

Website: https://www.desertstardance.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Desertstardance

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/desertstardance/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/desert-star-dance-chandler

Youtube: https://youtube.com/user/desertstardance

Image Credits
Shawna Steverson Photography Justin Villalobos Photography Nicole Curtis

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