We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabrielle Palmatier Marshall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabrielle, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Having my own ballet studio has been pretty much a lifelong dream. I have worked full-time at large studios in the Los Angeles and Dallas areas, and while I was able to develop some wonderful dancers, I wasn’t always able to do things the way that I would have preferred. Upon moving to Evergreen, my husband’s childhood home, and having three young children myself (now 10, 8, and 3) it seemed even less possible to operate my own studio. Luckily, my father moved here and agreed to operate the business which would allow me to concentrate on being the Artistic Director. Besides doing lots of babysitting, my father is an experienced fine arts executive and we collaborate really well. My goal was to have a ballet studio that would be warm and welcoming, more like an extended family than a business. I want to have a place where people of all ages can seriously study ballet but not be in an overly competitive or stressful environment. Ballet is a demanding art form in itself, and students have enough stress in their lives without our environment contributing to it. Ballet teaches discipline and requires physical fitness and dedication. Our performances build cooperation and a true team spirit. These are all things that will develop our students not just as dancers but as happy and healthy adults.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was trained in the Vaganova style of classical ballet which emphasizes building strength step-by-step. It requires steady work so that the student is not just learning “moves” but is building the strength to dance with confidence and not get injured. We are not a competition studio; we stage performances. I believe strongly that ballet is to be performed and that a story-line with costumes, props, and sets is much more enjoyable for the dancers and the audience than a recital of short, unrelated dances. Every show is super stressful because there are so many moving parts to put together but the finished product makes it so worth it! We recently performed “I Dream of Genie,” a variation on the Aladdin tale, but instead of a live performance, we filmed it. I learned so much about how to shoot scenes with multiple angles and then edit it all together. The students were so proud of their performance, especially at a time when nearly all artistic productions were shut down.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My husband is an Evergreen native and loves the outdoors so we do lots of little hikes and walks with the kids and the dogs. Any place along the river is always great. I guess I’m pretty boring because I just enjoy being here in our beautiful mountain town with the family. We don’t eat out that much because our kids prefer what most kids do. Anything as long as it includes French fries!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family, of course! My supportive husband, wonderful three children, and my father have all made my dream possible. My mother was my first dance teacher and planted my love of ballet.
Photos by Anna K. Potter