Mommie Dearest School of Dance and Charm is a dance studio located in Aurora, CO. Owned and Directed by Barbara Gabriel.

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About Us

How We Got Started
The Mommie Dearest School of Dance & Charm was born in late 1988 during the AIDS pandemic. Barbara had the privilege of being one of 38 cast members and over 80 creative technical professionals who gave of their time and talent for many months to create "Hooray for Hollywood," a lavish musical extravaganza that raised tens of thousands of dollars for the support of people living with AIDS and for research to end the terrible suffering that the government and much of the public at that time tried to ignore. One of the many characters that Barbara played in the two shows that were performed at the Paramount Theater and the DCPA was a larger-than-life Joan Crawford who menaced the lead character, Dorothy. Apparently Barbara was perfect for the part, and since she had no real name for her growing dance studio which was forging its own identity separate from a gymnastic school, Mommie Dearest was born!

About Our Teachers

Barbara Gabriel

Barbara is the owner/operator of the Mommie Dearest School of Dance & Charm and has danced, taught, choreographed, and performed for for nearly 60 years.  As a performer, she has probably played every hooker/stripper part in musical theater. Choreographic credits include The Music Man, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Oliver, Guys & Dolls, West Side Story, Fame, Closer Than Ever, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Mystery of Evan Drood, and the ever popular Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.

As a teacher, she has taught dance to students in public schools, numerous dance studios, and her own studio. At 60 something and equipped with a cool new titanium/plastic knee, she teaches radical History and Geography at Metro State University of Denver and continues to inspire and empower students to stand up, VOTE, question everything, and dare to change the world.  

She intends to spend her twilight years traveling the world, refusing to stop dancing, and annoying the general public with even ruder political messages on her antique answering machine.  She plans to live nearly forever just to piss off everyone who is amazingly still in her will.

Jennifer Elder

I studied Ballet and Tap for 10 years of my childhood and for the past 5 years have been dancing again with the Mommie Dearest School of Dance and Charm.  My sons have joined me at the studio and have grown in their self-confidence.  For the last 6 years I have been a preschool teacher and to be able to share the joy of dancing with young children is a privilege.