Originally from Milan, Italy, and now in his fifth season with Kansas City Ballet, meet Company Dancer, Christopher Costantini.
Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCER.
A: My mom, having always been a huge fan of the ballet, introduced me to dance when I was very young. Growing up in Milan, I would regularly go to performances at La Scala, one of the premier opera houses in Europe. One of my first memories of ballet was watching a performance of Cinderella with Alessandra Ferri in the title role.
It took quite a bit of prodding on my mom’s part for me to finally agree to take a ballet class. I instantly fell in love with it: the discipline and the physical progress you can see when improving your technique. Most of all, I enjoyed being able to assume a character on stage. The opportunity to express my ebullient personality on stage is magical. I quickly realized that ballet was a calling and I did everything to make my aspirations of a professional career a reality.
Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?
A: Most people ask how often we rehearse for performance. They are almost universally shocked to find out that the we have a full 9:15 a.m.-6:00 p.m. work schedule. More impressive to them is that we are pushing our bodies to their physical limits for 40+ hours per week.
Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
A: I have a passionate love for reading. It’s hard to find time to do so during the season (I usually spend my commute and free time keeping up with my favorite podcasts), but I indulge over the summer months. I usually spend the summer with five or six good books. Over the past summer I read a fantastic four-part biography series on Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro that I highly recommend.
Q: WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL DANCER WITH A BALLET COMPANY?
A: It’s absolutely fantastic. You’re sharing a storied art form with the public and hopefully instilling an appreciation for ballet and creativity more generally. It’s particularly special for me when we perform student matinees. The theatre is filled with excited school children and their energy is infectious. They are the most genuine in their reactions to our performance and it’s poignant that the future of our art form is being cultivated in that audience.
Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
A: “Just say yes.” I think my parents instilled that in me. If an opportunity presents itself, don’t hem and haw too much. Say yes and make it work. Over the long run, that will build up the depth of experience you have and serve you well.
Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios