Deutsch creates lasting impact on dance community

Reflecting on her dance career and high school experiences, Deutsch hopes to inspire others



Laura Deutsch featured as a passionate teenage dancer on the left and pictured as a New Trier dance teacher on the right

Kinetic Wellness teacher Laura Deutsch is retiring after thirty-three years of bettering the school community through her passion for teaching dance and dedication while working with her students.

Over the course of her career, Deutsch found a love for shedding light on mental health awareness and the harmful expectations which often surround body image within the dance environment.

There is something for everyone in the program and it is not based on ability, it’s based on where you want to go as a dancer personally

— Laura Deutsch

“Dancing professionally made me doubt myself and compare my body or my abilities as a whole to others which is exactly what I avoid within my own classes,” said Deutsch.

Deutsch aimed the structure of her dance classes to be more about individual growth and personal goal-setting instead of structuring them in ways that students may compare themselves to their peers. 

While Deutsch predominantly focused on the dance curriculum, she also taught various years of health. Her unique approach to teaching involves taking the time to understand each student individually and providing a supportive, non-judgemental environment where her students can feel comfortable.

Junior Ceci Klobuchar switched from another Kinetic Wellness class to Dance 2 because Deutsch’s class was less stressful and was built more around her as an individual.

Deutsch describes the dance environment as being a place of acceptance where all abilities are welcome.

“The students and I may be at different levels but we are all in the same boat and just want to dance!”

While attending New Trier as a high schooler, Deutsch explains how she did not have a picture perfect experience based on academic success. 

“All my best friends were heading to Yale and Princeton while I wanted to focus on mastering my 2 level classes. These classes were good for me and I finally learned how to learn instead of forcing myself to be in a class that would never suit me.”

Going through the New Trier schooling system showed Deutsch how the rigor of classes does not necessarily reflect the actual ability of a given student, and she worked to prove this idea with her own students. She believes the levels should not be chosen based on what students believe makes them look “better” or “smarter.” Instead, the focus needs to be on what fits each student best.

“I was not your A+ student. I hated school but I also hated being seen as stupid.”

Deutsch does not see any correlation between a students’ plan for their four years as a high schooler and a true judgment of their capabilities as a human being.

This belief inspired her choice of becoming a dancer.  She did not begin dancing until her sophomore year of high school, and the dance program at New Trier allowed her to embrace her true creativity.

“There is something for everyone in the program and it is not based on ability, it’s based on where you want to go as a dancer personally.” 

Deutsch is excited to see how New Trier continues to grow after her retirement and she aims to leave behind her ideas regarding teaching being as individualistic as possible, making sure that teachers, like her, continue to teach the students and not just the subject.