By Chaundra Wilson,
Gina Artese, of Kansas City, Missouri, is the guest instructor for week two of Imagine Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive. As a Balanchine-trained dancer, she describes her teaching style with one word—energy.
I am very different from the Danish style, which was the focus of the Bournonville Workshop with the Masters, which took place in Ogden the last week in June. “I am kind of old school style,” Artese smiles, “Black leotards, pink tights. Balanchine is very different. “
Artese, who began her professional dancing career at around 16 years old, set pieces from Balanchine’s repertoire last year for IBT’s summer intensive. This year, she brought her “energy” to the IBT studio with a rendition of Stars and Stripes. “This version is more theatrical and the counts are very important.”
Artese’s week of intense instruction comes on the heels of Oswaldo Muniz, who opened IBT’s month-long intensive. Artese was began guest teaching at IBT last summer when Muniz recommended her as a candidate to Artistic Director Raymond Van Mason.
Artese says her favorite part of her time at IBT is the specialized attention with each child. She enjoys the group “pointe shoe talks,” where she discusses the woes, triumphs, tips, and tricks of ballet’s most iconic equipment. “I enjoy getting to know each child and having a moment with them. I like helping them fix something when they were struggling.”
As well as being a member of many dance companies, Artese has been seen on the movie screen as a company member in the Academy Award-Winning production, Black Swan. “I didn’t know what was going on,” she recalls of filming the suspense-thriller. “My family saw it before I did. “ Artese remembers meeting and talking with some of the ballerinas whose stories peppered the plot of the movie. Artese speculates that the draw of the movie, which surprises viewers with a troubling and dark conclusion. “I think it is about the rebellion, because ballet is all about perfection.”