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Interview with Maria Carla Spagna

When did you start dancing? Tell us about your dance life.
“I had my first approach to dance at the age of five in a dance school in Naples, Italy. I didn’t know much about life but somehow I had the feeling that dance was gonna be my future. I knew it was gonna be a slow and long path, made of focus and discipline, with doubts and uncertainty but with enough passion and longing that kept me going until now and allowed me to overcome all the difficulties.
Growing up dance became my safe place, what I looked forward from the moment I woke up in the morning, my sacred space; dancing would make me forget about everything else. It was challenging, but that challenge meant looking to refine and polish, to explore dance in many forms, traveling and getting to learn from different sources, exploring new styles and techniques. That’s when I started looking around and outside of my city, allowing myself to get inspired by different dancers and choreographers and taking advantage of every opportunity I had to go study something new.

Maria Carla Spagna – Ph. Marcelo Voltolinni

In 2005 I had for the first time the chance to travel to New York and dance. Right away I fell in love with the city, its energy and the countless opportunities it offers. It was so inspiring being able to be fully immersed into art and cross the path with many talented dancers and artists in general. I was able to take class in different dance studios, experience new techniques and study with renowned teachers and choreographers, but when I stepped into the Ailey School I had the feeling that one day I would have been part of it.

In 2010 I was finally able to move to New York, taking full part to this incredible form of art in each and every aspect. It was a dream come true having all of it in just one city, the city that nourished my heart and soul for all these years. After auditioning, I was accepted into the Ailey School, one of the most internationally renowned dance schools, learning from the best and most influential people in the dance field such as Ana Marie Forsythe, Milton Myers, Freddy Moore, Elizabeth Roxas, Earl Mosley, Bradley Shelver, Graciela Kozak, Jacqulyn Buglisi and Kevin Predmore. This journey fortified and shaped me into a better dancer and professional, and gave me the tools to step into my career with confidence.
Throughout the years l had the opportunity to dance with many different dance companies and projects including Mad About Dance, directed by Michiyo Tanaka, Infinity Dance Theater, directed by Kitty Lunn, Sidra Bell Dance New York, Table of Silence Project, directed by Jacqulyn Buglisi, Saint Vincent’s Project, directed by Daniella Topol and Annie Middleton, 19twelve, choreographed by Megan Sipe and with live music by the pianist and composer Moira Lo Bianco, among many others.

With time I started to see and understand that for me inspiration and growth come as well from passing on our knowledge throughout the process of looking inside ourself and retracing our path, what we have learned and who we have become.
After studying in deep the Horton technique for many years I felt the urge to expand even more my knowledge of this amazing modern technique.
In 2017 I attended the Horton Pedagogy at the Ailey School, held by Ana Marie Forsythe, internationally-recognized master teacher of the Horton technique, gaining a better understanding of the technique and learning new teaching skills to train dancers.

When pandemic hit in 2020 many artists were forced to reinvent themselves in different ways. That’s when I started teaching online for Fini Dance New York, and finally in person in Calabria, Italy during the summer of 2021.
In 2022 I became part of the faculty of the Ailey School Junior Division teaching the Horton Technique to young dancers.”

Maria Carla Spagna – Ph. Marcelo Voltolinni

What does teaching at the Ailey School mean for you?
“Stepping back into the Ailey School, no longer as a student but as a dance educator, transmitting my knowledge and passion to younger generations, choreographing and staging my dance vision throughout their bodies was the realization of a dream. It’s such a pleasure and a pride seeing young dancers learning and thriving through perseverance and determination. Being able to be part of their growth and improvement makes me happy.”

A dream you wish to come true.
“This new path lightened up the desire of bringing onstage my ideas and choreography, this is one of the many projects and dreams I have for the upcoming future. New York is a city of dreams that allows us to constantly progress and grow, both professionally and personally.”

An advice you give to young dancers.
“An advice I would like to give to the new generation of dancers is to be persistent and patient cause good results come with time and hard work, to enjoy the ride, have fun and find new inspiration in all of the art forms. The world is in a continuous evolution and we can find new impulsed and stimulations in our every day life, never stop seeking them.
The pursuit and refinement of the details makes a good dancer. We are all different and I believe that finding that peculiarity inside ourself and valorizing it in the best way possible makes each and everyone of us unique.
I would also advise them to take good care of their bodies, that’s the main instrument they have to develop this beautiful art, alongside with their soul that needs to be nourished every day.”

Maria Carla Spagna – Ph. Kris Kashtanova

Fini Dance: Change Y
The Avant-Garde in G
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