Twenty-two years ago this past November, myself, along with every other homeschooling mom in our parish that I knew, was praying for a fellow mom. She was having a difficult pregnancy and everyone was worried for her and the baby. Sharon Kubanda gave birth to Anastasia
on my daughter Marlene's due date...and the rest is history! Because of our parish, St. John the Baptist, we were in the same circle of homeschoolers. Because of ballet day-after-day and year-after-year though, our lives and schedules were intimately entwined. From sharing space in my rental home in PA, to sharing 40 hours per week in the studios, to countless rehearsals and performances, praying over and sharing meals together, attending Mass at the same parish in both PA and VA, our children grew up spending much time together. Anastasia was adorable as a child, gifted as a dancer, and is passionate as a teacher. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the lovely, talented, and oh-so-kind-hearted Anastasia Kubanda...
What age did you start dancing and why? I started dancing at 2? 3? Either way it was before I could remember! Every one of my siblings was dancing, and my mom would bring me to the studio when she went there for them. She started me in pre-ballet when I was old enough.
What was your favorite thing as a small child about ballet? As a small child, my favorite thing was probably being around the other kids, and wearing the costumes, and getting to put on makeup to perform! The superficial stuff. I don’t remember why, but very early on I was actually in the same class as my older sister, Ellie. We would have fun together in class, practicing at home, and dressing up.
Did you play any instruments? If so, how did that help you with ballet? I took piano lessons from a young age. It was the Suzuki method, which uses very classical pieces of music, and a particular training method. Even though I wasn’t very passionate about playing (I really wasn’t the best piano student!) it most definitely tuned my ear to music, and deep seeded a love for classical music specifically, that I’m sure will never go away.
How old were you when you knew you just HAD to dance? I knew I had to dance after I took from Marcia. I was 8 when I first went up to Carlisle. My mom took Cassie, my oldest sister, and me up and I wasn’t super excited about it. My ballet lessons, to me, weren’t really about the ballet at the time, so going to a new place without my friends seemed silly! Marcia’s way of teaching was so slow and deliberate though, that it was so invigorating to me. She opened my little eyes to the detail and care that was supposed to be put into every single movement. All of a sudden I was hooked!
I remember telling your mom about Marcia after Mass one Sunday at St. John the Baptist, and how well my three children were doing there. She had heard about Marcia and her school, but was hesitant about the distance. What prompted your mom to finally take the leap? My mom let me start going to CPYB for drop in classes because she could see my budding passion and supported me. Susan Vostrikov was the one that suggested Cassie go to the summer program in the first place, but honestly if you hadn’t paved the way for us, my mom might not have seen it as a possibility.
I didn’t stay a drop-in student for very long at all, I distinctly remember when I started going full time. It got to nutcracker time and I had to talk to my dad about it. My mom told me to talk to him, so he could hear it from me. I didn’t argue my case, I didn’t beg, I didn’t even ask! I just started talking to him about how excited I was about Nutcracker, everything that I was learning, and things I couldn’t wait to do. That’s when he realized that this wasn’t just a short term thing. I believe my mom knew it wasn’t after my very first class!
What are your memories of living at my house - which backed up to the CPYB Warehouse Studios - for part of the week with your mom, and sometimes your siblings Gabrielle and Stephen? You were so little and just beginning classes with Marcia then - who by the way adored you! One of my fondest memories of living part time with your family was your Halloween parties! We were right by the warehouse studios. Me and Marlene, would have a bunch of our ballet friends come over to go trick or treating - and of course, meet back up at the house to sort and trade and all that good stuff. Marlene and I were often in the same class as well, so to me it just felt like I was staying over with my friend!
Join us next time to find out what Anastasia's Favorite roles were, where she has danced, and what it's like to perform in another country...