Choreographer Nadine Medina, owner and artistic director of Troy Dance Factory, is nominated for her work ethic, vision and student encouragement. In her eight years in Troy, Medina has kicked off arts community engagement courses and events through the Dance Factory that include an annual Choreo Ball of student-choreographed routines—which celebrated five years in March—as well as a local music choreography class. The course inspired her new, collaborative, multimedia choreography endeavor Synergia Dance Project, joining dance, cinema and live music in one storytelling experience. 


Photos: Richard Lovrich


“Nadine is a true gem in this community,” nominator Cait Madden says. “She gives her best, as an example in always expecting the best from others.”

“I’ve been told by students that I can be intense as a teacher, but I assume when dancers come to me they want to improve their craft,” Medina says. “I’d like to see us take our arts community more seriously instead of people saying, ‘Well I guess if I want to take my art seriously I have to move to the city.’ Why can’t we do that here? If we’re all here, we can do this. I’d rather Troy be a place where people come to develop their art than to take it somewhere else in order to become great.” 



Gabriella Madrid (above, left) has been Medina’s student since she was 12 years old. She is graduating high school this spring but plans on returning to Troy Dance Factory during summer and school breaks. 

“I’m not ready to give it up,” Madrid says. “Nadine makes TDF so much different than other dance studios because it’s not about age or your personality or how everything has to be perfect. It’s about passion. If you have the will to be better, she will let you go as far as you can take yourself.”

Madrid recalls starting the adult tap class at TDF as a high school freshman. She was a bundle of nerves for nearly half of the year and stayed uncharacteristically quiet. But Medina was incredibly supportive.

“She told me, ‘It’s OK to not be the best person in the class. It’s OK if you don’t get something right away because your body is always learning new pathways, even when you’re not thinking about it. It’ll eventually come to you if you keep working hard.’ And it has. I’m still in adult tap and it’s my favorite class…I still kind of can’t believe it, but it was the coolest thing that she saw I was committed.”

Hear more about Medina’s dance experience and creative career on the CollabCast: