Movers & Shapers Podcast: Sharron Miller

By March 22, 2016Podcast

MOVERS & SHAPERS:SharronM_HeadShot_color

Podcast No.20 – Sharron Miller

“Starring New Jersey” Special Podcast Series

Release Date: March 22, 2016

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Sharron Miller is Founder/Director of Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts (SMAPA), a 501c3 arts education organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive, inclusive developmental training in dance and related theater arts to children, teens, adults and seniors. She is a former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater soloist and veteran of seven Broadway shows. She has appeared on television, film, and hundreds of radio and television commercials. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Ms. Miller, who attended The Juilliard School, is committed to enriching the lives of young people through the arts. Her early training began with the late Fred Danieli, founder and director of the Garden State Ballet, who taught her the value of self-discipline, self-respect, and a commitment to excellence. Ms. Miller’s educational focus is to foster, nurture and encourage skill building, self-discipline, self-esteem and creativity in every student.

She served on the faculty of The Renaissance Middle School in Montclair, NJ for 13 years where SMAPA provided the dance and drama program for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students during the school day. This program was developed with multi-year leadership support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, praised by the State of New Jersey as an “outstanding arts education model,” and eventually fully-funded by the Montclair Board of Education. Ms. Miller has also served on the faculty of Montclair Kimberley Academy, Far Brook School, and has been affiliated with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as an arts-in-education consultant/partner. She currently serves on their Community Engagement Advisory Committee.

SMAPA operates year-round in four divisions: Preschool (ages 2-5), Junior (ages 6-11), Prep (ages 12-18) and Adult/Senior. All classes operate on a semester basis (excluding Adult Division) and are developmentally geared based on skill and chronological age. Classes are offered in many disciplines including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, West African, Flamenco, floor barre, Pilates/Yoga, contemporary modern jazz and hip-hop. Children progress from one level to the next when skills requirements have been mastered. There are no recitals but rather parent observations twice a year. SMAPA is not a competition school but rather an arts education organization where the joy of learning is encouraged.

At SMAPA, Ms. Miller (along with a faculty of thirty teaching artists) continues to train hundreds of students yearly, but also continues to develop her arts enrichment programs and community outreach, which includes: Working in partnership with Quitman Street Community School in Newark, NJ, providing a yearlong dance residency for K-8 students; providing an 8-week dance residency over the past five years to 1st through 5th grade students in ten elementary school in East Orange; creating a 6-week full-day arts program, “Prime Time Summer Arts”, for children ages 6-14 in association with the Montclair Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs (MRCA); and adapting Prime Time Summer Arts to a half-day Preschool Program operating in nine 1-week, theme-based sessions for children ages 3-5.

SMAPA receives generous financial support from foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Victoria Foundation, the Stone Foundation of New Jersey, the Turrell Fund, Hyde & Watson, Investors Bank, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Newark Arts Council.

Ms. Miller resides in Montclair, New Jersey with her daughter, Jaimie.



Misty Copeland

Garden State Ballet

Penny Frank

Joyce Trissler 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Lena Horne 

Donald McKayle

“Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope”

Chalvar Monteiro

This special podcast series “Starring NJ” was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.  Special thanks to Charmaine Warren for serving as the Humanities Scholar for this series.

Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton
Intro Music: “Singing Distance” by Elijah Aaron