Constanza with Missouri Contemporary Ballet

Constanza with Missouri Contemporary Ballet

Tell us about your dance training and education:

I started dancing when I was 3 at a RAD school in England: light blue leotard, pink socks, pink shoes…When I was 6, we moved to Texas where I went to an unfortunate studio until I was 10 and we moved to Alaska. North Star Ballet is where I really started to train, and I left Alaska for the University of Utah when I was 17. The U ballet department didn’t take me my first year auditioning, but I was stubborn and tried again the next year. I graduated in 2007 and have been dancing around as much as possible since then!

What is your favorite dance you’ve ever performed?

Oh…there was one where we dressed in bubble wrap and duct tape, that was pretty fantastic. But really, Carley Conder’s ballet from my second year at the U, with al sorts of Tsunami imagery. I could do that ballet every night for the rest of my life. And this summer in Atlanta, Tara Lee’s superhero ballet and Stephen Pier’s witch ballet…the list goes on forever. And I’d love to do North Star’s Marzipan again. And Cinderella was amazing..

What’s the funniest/oddest/craziest thing that’s happened to you during a performance?

Constanza's First Nutcracker

Constanza's First Nutcracker

I saw my shadow.

I’m serious.

I was always in the upstage right corner for my entrance in Snow, and hiding behind the line of sight all I could see of the Snow Pas was their shadow at the very end, when the Snow Queen went to the upstage right corner to make a sweeping motion with her arm, calling on the Snowflakes. My first year doing Snow Pas in Fairbanks, I didn’t really realize who I was until the very end of the pas, when I ran to the upstage right corner, swept my arm, and saw the shadow on the backdrop that I saw every year from the wings. Then I realized it was my shadow.

Tell us about your favorite dance teacher?

Besides Paul Murphy, who is now my husband (2 years Dec. 27th!)…

Miss Sue was my ballet mistress growing up. She was one of the founding members of Ballet Met and often brought her massive dogs into the studio during class. Any dog that happened to wander in from outside was welcome as well. She had the best analogies ever (my older students can ask about the flashlight if they’re curious) and always stopped by me at the barre to make me laugh, just to make sure I was breathing.

Besides the physical, how has dancing affected you?

I really see life in patterns, rhythms, dynamics…everything is a ballet to me. Cars at a 4-way stop one day made me smile because all four made right turns in unison.

What is something you know now as a teacher that you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself as a dancer?

Stop working so hard! Try it, it really does work.

Why do you like teaching at Dance Concepts?

It is such a happy place. People are there because they want to be, and I always feel better after teaching the girls and catching up with Erica.

What makes you proudest as a dance teacher?

When my dancers acknowledge their own triumphs.

What can a student do to absolutely win your heart as a teacher?

Have brains! I love when they can realize what needs to be fixed and fix it.

What do you hope students say after taking a class from you?

That something felt good. Maybe I gave an end-of-the-world adagio, but if one moment of class made them feel good, I’m happy.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Most of my students probably don’t know that I’m fairly obsessed with my dog. Her name is Persephone and she looks like a hobo but she is the most fantastic little beastie on earth. And she dances.

Oh, and I have an extensive collection of antique hats.

Constanza in Coppelia with North Star Ballet

Constanza in Coppelia with North Star Ballet

Categories: Teacher Interviews

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