Fairfax resident and mother of three, Claudia Alfieri-Wallace is a professional ballet dancer who has performed in some of the world’s prestigious companies, such as the Baryshnikov’s American Ballet Theatre at 16 years old and then Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Smuin Ballet, with the best choreographers in the world. Now Claudia wants to give back to her local community and create a place to nurture the next generation of dancers.
Claudia opened a dance studio called Studio C Ballet last November in Fairfax and offers classes for children as young as two and a half through to teenagers and adult classes.
Claudia explains more to The Marin Scoop:
When did your love for ballet begin?
“My ballet lessons began at the age of three. My mother was a dancer from Australia and my two older sisters were taking ballet already by the time I was born. Wherever we were living (my NYC born American Dad moved the family around a lot for his maritime work) I had pretty much been in a ballet studio waiting room since birth. At three, my mother officially enrolled me in a class even though I’d been dancing around the waiting room and knew all the steps already. I don't know if my actual love of ballet really set in until I was older and could understand it, but the movement was innate from the start.”
Why did you decide to open a ballet studio in Fairfax?
“I retired from ballet in 2003 and concentrated on having a family with my new husband. We moved out to Fairfax from San Francisco in 2005 (we always loved the area). Being an ex-professional dancer I had problems conceiving, so I steered away from ballet and any type of extreme exercise for a while. So I put my past on the backburner and concentrated on building my family. It took a while, but we now have three beautiful children; Joshua 5 1/2 years, Julian 4 years and Eve is 2 years. I started teaching ballet again through the Fairfax Focas Program a year and a half ago and my passion and experience instantly ignited. I hated having to teach ballet after an AA meeting at the Women's Center with no barres or mirrors and a slippery floor! So, I knew it was time to start my own school.”
How does your ballet studio stand out from other similar dance studios in Marin?
“I know that my experience in the ballet world is very unique! I was starring in ballets on the MET stage at the age of 16 years with Baryshnikov’s American Ballet Theatre. I was touring around the world performing at different Opera Houses, attending embassy parties, art openings, having Christian Lacroix, Santo Laquasto or Norma Kamli design costumes for me. I've been extremely blessed in my career. I'm also a certified American Ballet Theatre teacher. No one in this area has that credential, it's only available to ABT alumni or select ex-professionals so I think that a big factor in setting me apart as a teacher. Also, my Studio C Ballet studio is very small and personal; each student gets special attention and instruction and from an actual professional instead of someone that studied dance in college! It’s a BIG difference. I really do know what I'm teaching in the studio, it's the real deal! But that said, I still offer the tutu dress up's for Pre-Ballet and Ballerina Birthday Parties for the little ones. I'm a Marin mom too!”
When is a good age for children to start ballet lessons and how does practicing ballet improve your physical well-being?
"Ballet is wonderful training at any age. It's not only graceful and athletic but can be a great way to stay in shape. Ballet is one of the most physically demanding activities in the world. Flexibility and strength are essential; it can open up tight hips, correct posture problems and just make you feel pretty! Whether you’re goal is to become a pro or you just want a good workout, everyone can benefit from this kind of dance training."
For further information on the studio and classes, visit Studio C Ballet
Baby & Toddler
Weekly Activities Calendars
Looking for something to entertain your toddler or want to reach out to new moms with babies this week?
To view this week’s activities: Click here