Stephanie Albanese is a graduate of the School of American Ballet with a diverse dance background and a passion for teaching. We interviewed her to find out why dance is the wellspring of her creative energy and what she loves about AS220.
Can you give a brief description of your history as a dancer?
I trained as a ballet dancer at an early age and completed my training at the School of American Ballet. As a professional dancer I had somewhat of an eclectic career where I freelanced as a dancer in New York City primarily with ballet choreographer Marcus Galante and contemporary ballet choreographer Felice Lesser. I also ventured into cabaret dancing working in shows in Paris and Las Vegas. I did some modern works with Igal Perry in New York and Mary Miller in Pittsburgh.
Where do you find inspiration for your choreography?
I have yet to choreograph beyond the classroom but when I do create a dance piece, it is the music that initially draws the inspiration. Then it is the many ballets I have seen throughout the years that help with ideas for structure and continuity.
How has being a dancer has impacted or shaped your life?
Being a dancer has greatly impacted my life. As a young dancer it was my complete focus and therefore a lot of my identity went with that. As a retired dancer and teacher of dance it is often the discipline that I draw from. Working with young children throughout my life I have often drawn from the creative energy that dance inspires as well as using and understanding movement to help with early childhood development.
How did you get involved with AS220?
I was initially introduced to AS220 through Perishable Theater by a lovely person named Amy Budd. I began teaching a Sunday ballet class and I never stopped – I am very happy being part of AS220!
What can students expect to learn in your ballet classes?
In the class we learn things such as line and placement, the importance of phrasing the music, the coordination of the body (meaning the whole body working together) to complete a combination, as well as the joy of moving through space.
What do you like best about teaching dance?
I love giving back what I have learned through the years. I love seeing the progress of my students and the joy they inspire through just dancing.