We had the good fortune of connecting with Tamara Irving and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tamara, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Honestly in my 20s risk wasn’t as much of a factor as it is in my 40s, however I believe there is a place for it in everyone’s life. For me, I took a risk at the age of 24. I completed Howard University with a degree in Marketing, I was a professional dancer for the Atlanta Hawks Dance Team and working in corporate America. Still something was missing, I knew I had to take a leap or else I would regret it. I quit my job and moved to New York City to pursue a professional career in dance. I wanted to be on Broadway, I needed to be in the lights, I thrived a career beyond a desk! Within 9 months of being in NY, I was cast in a Disney Production and the rest is history! If I had not taken the risk of leaving what was considered a stable job, I would have never known my potential. Sure you can be smart with risks, my saving and planning, but some risks have a time stamp and I had to get mine in!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My educational journey started when I left the Us National Tour of The Lion King and needed to find stability while still utilizing my gift of dance. As I began my educational journey I learned quickly that there was a difference between being a performer and being a teacher. I had a lot of ups and downs in my first couple of years but one thing that helped me was finding an educational mentor to guide me. I learned what dance education truly was and that while I was able to create some performers, ultimately I was also creating arts patrons. Once I began to understand the goals of education, I became a better teacher. Because there was not a lot of support in my school or district for dance educators, I had to lean on my fellow arts educators while stretching myself thin to find resources that I would have to alter to use in my dance classroom. My professional experience helped to shape me as an educator and as I began to develop my own teaching voice, I continued to grow. I knew then that there was a gap in dance education mentors. As one who documents most of everything I do, learn and buy for my classroom, I have quite an abundance of resources I have created or collected over the years. That coupled with my 12 years of classroom experience and 20 years of professional dance experience, make me my own dance resource. I have mentored many dance teachers over the years, as I was mentored early on. Teaching is difficult, teaching dance can be rewarding but still poses barriers and obstacles. If you don’t know how to advocate for yourself or your program, you could suffer in an educational setting. TMI Design & Consulting LLC, was created to serve as a resource for arts educators. As an educational consultant, I develop arts curricula and facilitate teacher training and professional development programs infused with career and leadership practices for a range of organizations. Organizing and creating professional development and resources for myself and others is my superpower!

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?
The first place I would take them is to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This is my magical place where I love to go alone or with family! Each time I go there, I experience something new. Atlanta is a city enriched with great history and lots of art.

Monday – Ebenezer Baptist Church and the childhood home of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tuesday – Shopping in little Five points or Ponce City Marketplace
Wednesday – Atlanta Botanical Gardens, I would visit at night for the sparking lights
Thursday – a tour of the wonderful arts programs in Atlanta, especially the dynamic dance programs
Friday – Lunch at Black owned restaurant The Slutty Vegan
Saturday – Biking on the Atlanta Beltline, while capturing the art in its hidden pathways
Sunday – Church at West Hunter Street Baptist Church in the Historic West End where civil rights activist Ralph David Abernathy served as a minister.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate my shout out to my family! First my mom for not letting me quit dance when it was getting tough in middle school! Next is my sister, who has supported all of my endeavors for life and taught me so much as well. Finally, my husband, who was my then-boyfriend, supported my dream to move to NY. He has been there every step of the way as a continue to strive towards my dreams and goals,

Website: https://tamarairving.com/

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

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamara-irving/

Twitter: @Tamara_Irving

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TMI.Design.Consulting/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/tamarairving/

Image Credits
Shoccara S. Marcus Photography, Shocphoto Richard Calmes (jumping pic) Kamryn Stargell (in orange with kids)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.