By Robbie Kaye


“It is my passion. There is no negative aspect in my work when the students are eager and want to learn the art of dance,” ballet teacher and studio owner Christine Fossemalle says.

Ballet teacher Christine Fossemalle, known for her nurturing demeanor and obvious passion for ballet, has lived in the Santa Ynez Valley since 1986.

She lived previously in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Montreal, Paris, Montpellier, Bordeaux and France.

Her studio’s annual show, “An Invitation To Dance,” will be performed at Santa Ynez High School’s Little Theater on the evenings of June 21-23.

LOV: How did you get into dancing?

It was a passion from the very beginning after watching ballet on television, from my mother’s recollection.  At 7 years old I finally began taking lessons and never stopped.

LOV: Did you have any interests other than dancing?

I always loved learning other languages and have been interested in music … and art at large.

LOV: When did you decide you wanted to teach dancing?

I have had the amazing opportunity to study with some of the best dance masters in the world, and I felt it was my responsibility to give that knowledge to the next generation. That is the way the art of dance is transmitted … you pass on the tools that were graciously given to you.

LOV: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Witnessing the evolution and development of each student in regard to their individual abilities. Considering that I have had countless youngsters start at the age of 4 and continuing til they have graduated from high school, the transformation is extremely rewarding and gratifying.

LOV: Your least favorite thing?

It is my passion. There is no negative aspect in my work, when the students are eager and want to learn the art of dance.

LOV: What are some of the necessary aspects of creating a successful dance studio?

I have been fortunate to educate the parents as well as the students in the field of dance; they have responded well to the discipline and demands of their youngsters’ training and etiquette of ballet in particular: consistent attendance in class and rehearsals as well as intense efforts required in the higher levels. It has been a marvelously rewarding 32-year journey so far.

LOV: Can you share an inspirational story about your students? 

One of my students, Miss Rebecca Frazier, graduated from UCSB with a degree in dance and psychology. Her first job was working with children with disabilities. Her desire was to help them expand their boundary and find a way to better communicate with them.

She proposed a tap class to the school faculty, was approved and began teaching a very simple tap class. To the amazement of the entire staff, it was the first time some students reacted, participated and expressed joy and enthusiasm to do it again.

Hearing this story first-hand, as well as Miss Rebecca’s joy, was overwhelming as these children were receiving a beautiful gift from a dancer.

LOV: Where have some of your other students progressed to in regard to dancing?

I have had quite a few continuing in dance; my instructor and assistant, Miss Sonia, was one of my very first students; she is just as passionate as I am and is passing on her knowledge as well. This is truly a heartwarming and beautiful evolution.

In addition, I have had a few students graduating with bachelor’s or master’s in dance at UCSB as well as University of Utah. Miss Sarah Longoria-Frazier now teaches in Salt Lake City and directs her own dance company.

LOV: What would you tell adults about starting or continuing to dance ballet?

I love my adult class and students. Ballet is a marvelous form of exercise; it requires focus and so it becomes a feel-good escape from the daily routine. The rewards of getting a combination or a new step are marvelous and the connection between the movements and music are soothing.

You may come to class a bit tired, but you leave with a physical and mental lift. It is the best way for me to begin the day, as I often tell my students.

LOV: What events do you have coming up?

“An Invitation To Dance 2018” at the high school Little Theater on the evenings of June 21, 22 and 23.

For more information, call 688-8494 or go to


Robbie Kaye is a photojournalist, artist and the author of “Beauty and Wisdom,” who is working on “Cracked,” a photographic study in imperfection. For more information, go to