NBC NEWS (WPTV): Former ballerina shares lessons learned while caring for dance teacher


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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With help from a former dance student, a Lake Park ballet teacher is able to continue her aggressive battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Over the last 8 years, Carissa Kranz has been caring for Joan Miller, founder of the Palm Beach Ballet Center in Lake Park.

Miller established the studio in 1958 and spent 55 years training dancers to the highest caliber of excellence in her pre-professional dance program.

Ballet teacher Joan Miller and Carissa Kranz

Over the decades, hundreds of students have graduated with many pursuing professional careers in the performing arts.

Today, several professional dancers who trained with Joan Miller continue to perform in the world’s greatest ballet, modern, and jazz dance companies.

However, the Palm Beach Ballet Center closed in 2013.

The iconic studio was unable to stay open without Joan Miller’s dedicated oversight after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“The studio was taken from her and was closing its doors because it wasn’t going to survive without her,” Kranz said. “Her home was in foreclosure. She had nothing.”

Carissa Kranz spent 20 years dancing with ‘Miss Joan’ on a scholarship through elementary, middle, and high school.

To support to assist with Miss Joan Miller’s full-time care and community services, click here.

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Carissa Kranz

“Anyone who knows Joan Miller remembers that she was a tough cookie,” Kranz said. “She expected you to show up and do your best and reach your potential.”

Kranz said Joan Miller was a stickler for perfection but instilled the principles of discipline in her dancers.

Those lessons are a major component behind Kranz and her long list of accolades.

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