Teachers Are Like Mothers

Teachers Are Like Mothers

Giada Ferrone talks about her career focus and growing family

In an anxiety-ridden city and profession, Giada Ferrone seems like a woman who has found her place in the universe. The Italian-born dancer has come a long way since, at 18 years old, she arrived in New York City to perform at the Joyce Theater. That trip, made with her teacher, the contemporary ballerina and Béjart alumna Marga Nativo, proved both eye-opening and life-altering. The young dancer met her future husband, Greg Ferrone, and stayed to carve out the kind of eclectic dance career that’s possible only in New York.

That career has been crucially shaped by Ferrone’s 12-year association with Igal Perry and the Peridance Ensemble. There are blood ties—her brother-in-law, Keith Ferrone, now the co-director of Nativo’s Florence Dance Center, danced with Perry’s original Peridance Ensemble. More importantly, though, Ferrone found her métier as a dancer in Perry’s brand of contemporary ballet.

Throughout her career, Ferrone has also worked with Florence Dance Theater, Amusia, Michael Mao Dance, Neo Labos Dance Theater, Dances by Alan Danielson, and Elizabeth Higgins Dance Theater.

Yet it’s teaching that Ferrone believes to be her mission in life. A strict and busy teacher at the Peridance School in Manhattan, she runs a pre-professional training program for young dancers and teaches adult classes. She aspires to provide something similar to Nativo’s Cecchetti-based training—visible in Ferrone’s own powerful technique and clean lines—a training intended to produce dancers ready for anything.

“Teachers are like mothers,” Ferrone says, so it seemed a natural step, two years ago, to take on yet another full-time job—her son, Matteo. Becoming a mother has been deeply transformative for Ferrone. She perceives a new maturity in her own dancing; performing feels more complex, more rewarding. Roles that she once saw as grueling physical struggles, she now finds herself approaching as emotional journeys. Taking class has become a rare pleasure, instead of a chore.

Ferrone’s tightly packed schedule mandates a choice between performing and choreographing, and at the present she’s choosing to perform. Still, time constraints aside, these days she feels like she’s left insecurity––the dancer’s constant companion––behind to attain a new, more joyous level in everything she does. It’s as if Ferrone’s passions—dancing, teaching, her family—have come together, leaving her complete and purposeful. Every artist should be so lucky.