Linda Carr brings art and passion to BHS


Linda Carr holds a multitude of roles at Berkeley High School — the Beginning Modern/Jazz Dance, Dance Production, and Advanced Dance teacher; choreographer for the play Urinetown; and leader for the visual and performing arts department at BHS. 

Growing up in Marin County, Carr went to Redwood High School. Outside of school, she took ballet classes, but at her high school there was no dance program. As a kid, she always had an eye across the bay towards Berkeley. “I knew people who went to Berkeley High (School), and it seemed to be a very vibrant world that I was curious about,” Carr said.

Carr graduated high school early, and later had her first experience in a modern dance class. She said, “At the beginning of the class, the teacher said to everyone, take a big breath in and exhale, and I thought, ‘oh my god.’” It was something different and new from her prior dance experiences.

Expanding on these differences, apparent when comparing ballet and modern dance, she said, “Ballet is so controlled and about not showing your ‘human-ness’; you’re an ethereal being … Modern dance is all about being connected to yourself, to your breath, and to the earth. This (was) revolutionary for me.” Carr brings this attitude into her teaching.

After time at the College of Marin, she attended UC Davis as a visual arts major, studying drawing and painting and taking dance classes. 

Carr continues to dance in her free time. Most recently, she danced with a company called MoTo which focuses on body percussion and songs based in Appalachian arts. She was in a piece titled “Water in the Kettle” where they performed at Rhythmix in Alameda. She also likes to spend time with family, cook and bake, garden, and swim. 

At UC Davis, she had no idea a job like her current position at BHS existed because she didn’t have one at her own high school. 

She started her current position at BHS 24 years ago. It was very different then: when she started she used cassette tapes to play music for her students. Now, she makes a playlist. “There’s very little research that you have to do now in order to be exposed to new music,” Carr said. 

Explaining what drew her to this job, Carr said, “One of the appeals of the performing arts is that each performance is its own little mountain that you climb … (Cast and crew) don’t know if we’re gonna make it, and then everyone pulls together, and it’s a little miracle.” She elaborated on how this affects the community. “I feel that it gives you a lot of faith in yourself, other people, and collaboration. It’s also a really nice feeling that makes you want to do it again,” Carr said.

Her favorite part of the BHS community is the students. “I love this community and its energy,” Carr said. “I love the different kinds of people who are here as students and the passion that they bring.”

She finds her role fulfilling as well. “I love this job because I love being able to unlock students’ belief in themselves and what they can make happen,” Carr said.

Carr gave a piece of advice that she wants students to carry: “The voice inside your head is important. It’s important to cultivate a positive (mindset), to believe in yourself, and your own possibilities. None of us know what the limits are of what we can do.”