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WASHINGTON D.C. — Paige Hernandez, a local stage performer, alternates a demanding showbiz career with a job using song and dance to teach students of all ages.

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HuffingtonPost reports:

Hernandez works with Arena Stage a performing arts center that hosts a variety of youth education programs. She also works with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through The Arts, which focuses on teaching 3- to 5-year-olds their normal curriculum through song, dance and puppetry.

Creating her own curriculum, Hernandez teaches kids to count using things like “The Math Dance.” Her efforts have helped students from preschool to college to learn subjects that are normally taught straight out of a textbook.

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Classroom Heroes: D.C. Performer Paige Hernandez Reaches Students Through Performing Arts

Paige Hernandez Classroom Heroes

Posted: 03/22/11 10:05 PM

Paige Hernandez has found a profession for herself mixing two crafts, teaching and performing arts. She is a teaching artist, an actress and dancer who uses her performing arts skills in the classroom.

Hernandez has built a reputation for herself in the Washington D.C. area as a local stage performer, a career that she launched alongside teaching. “After I graduated,” she said, “I almost immediately jumped into the teaching artist profession.”

Hernandez works with students of all ages, from preschool to college level and even adults, leading professional development workshops for fellow teachers.

But she does not hold a regular position in any school. Instead, Hernandez works with programs who send teaching artists to different schools to complete in-school residencies — regular biweekly visits to a class for seven weeks to a full school year.

Splitting her time between different classes and schools means she has the flexibility to maintain her acting career. HuffPost spoke to her during her lunch break on a day packed with two high school dance workshops, an audition and a starring role in an evening show.

“I feel a little spread thin,” she said. But she enjoys having the best of both worlds in her dual profession. “I love it! I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

It also means she comes in contact with a huge number of students and classrooms. “Between two organizations I’ve served over 100 classrooms and probably a few thousand students,” she said.

Story continues below

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Hernandez works with Arena Stage a performing arts center that hosts a variety of youth education programs. She also works with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through The Arts, which focuses on teaching 3- to 5-year-olds their normal curriculum through song, dance and puppetry.