Retiring Anaheim High dance director leaving legacy of arts appreciation

For teacher Meg Elder, the performing arts can open opportunities for students that they might not otherwise find.

students pose for photo with teacher
Anaheim High Dance Director Meg Elder, left, will retire after years at the school.

During her 31-year career at Anaheim High School, countless students have found a second home in the music and dance programs she’s helped create. Hundreds of these students even landed in college by following a path through the arts.

Elder will retire at the end of the school year from Anaheim High. Her proudest accomplishment, she said, has been helping her students grow an appreciation for the arts.

“I’ve enjoyed immensely watching students find their self-confidence by joining programs that can change their concept of what they’re capable of,” she said.

Next week, dozens of former and current students will thank Elder and celebrate her career with two concerts. The “LEGACY- a celebration of over 30 Years of Artistry” shows will take place Friday and Saturday at Anaheim High’s Cook Auditorium. Click here for more information on times, tickets, etc.

students perform on stage
More than 6,000 students have gone through the Anaheim High dance program Meg Elder started.

Throughout her career, Elder has served as the school’s dance director, and director of Anaheim High’s Performing Arts Conservatory, a program she founded.

She estimates that more than 6,000 students have participated in the dance program she started in 1988, when she began as a walk-on coach for the school’s drill team.

Today, Anaheim High’s dance program ranks among the top for high schools in the region, with a professional-level studio that’s outfitted with audience seating, lighting systems, media projectors and other amenities.

“We have had students who have gone on to become doctors, attorneys, teachers, or have become successful in other professions outside the arts,” Elder said. “My greatest goal has always been to help students find the self-esteem they need. The arts have helped me work toward that goal.”