By the age of 4, Rene Martin knew she wanted to be a dancer. Like many girls growing up in Southie, she took dance classes from local teachers and fell in love with it.
Now 32 years later, Rene is still dancing. Quite an accomplishment, considering most lose sight of childhood dreams and replace them with more practical careers or jobs. But Rene has managed to do both. Rene’s dancing career began at the Arts Dance Workshop. In high school, she performed through the Boston Public Schools with the All City Dance Company. There she received two full scholarships to study at the Harvard Summer Dance Center. Rene went on to earn a BFA in Dance from UMass Amherst. She moved to New York and performed with various companies and choreographers including Memento Dance, Wasatch Dance Collective, Diane McCarthy, Room Eleven Dancers and many others. She co-produced such notable concert series as In the Company of Men, Raw Material, and Works in Progress. Since returning to Boston, Rene has performed with SK2 Dance and has been teaching ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, pilates, Zumba, and creative movement in the Boston area for the past eight years.
Her own dance school – Rene Martin Dance began four years ago as small school with just 20 students at the Boston Athletic Club. Since then her students have doubled to more than 50. In addition to her school, Rene has been the choreographer for the past six years at the Fourth Presbyterian Church Children’s Theater Program, and for the St. Peter Academy Dance Troupe – a tongue in cheek group of parents and teachers who perform each year at their annual at the St. Peter Academy Spring Fundraiser. She also teaches Zumba, HipHop and Pilates at the Boston Athletic Club. And on top of all the dancing in Rene’s life, she is a loving mother to her daughter Ally (11) and a kindergarten teacher at the Condon School in South Boston. Phew. Exhausting for most but invigorating and inspiring for Rene.
Rene’s latest venture is choreographing a flash mob dance. What is a flash mob dance? Well, flash mob occurs when people arrange to meet at a certain place and time to carry out a seemingly random act and then quickly disband minutes later. A flash mob dance is composed of dedicated dancers who rehearse a dance and perform it live in a public place making it seem random and spontaneous. Her goal is to have over 200 people perform at South Station. Recently Rene gave a small taste of flash mob dancing at the night before Thanksgiving at Florian Hall. While the Thomas Park Band was on a break, thirty dancers got up intermittently and performed for a crowd of over 300. It was a small step but a nice gage for what Rene needs to do to see her newest goal achieved.
“I will be looking for dancer this spring for the flash mob. Children, adults, beginners and professionals! It’s going to be a really fun project,” says Rene. Local filmmaker and Southie boy Jamie Ryan will be documenting the journey.
Rene’s energy, beauty and kindness surround her and you can’t help but adore her. Whether she is teaching children in her classroom or teaching adults Zumba at the BAC, her dedication and love of her craft is contagious. Although Rene’s schedule is extremely full between work and her home life, Rene still manages to volunteer and help in the community where needed. She is a wonderful role model to all her students not only for how to live your dream but also how to be a good person. And that is why Rene Martin is our December Character of the Month.
(If anyone is interested in becoming a student of Rene or wish to participate in the Spring Flash Mob Dance Project, you can contact Rene through Facebook at www.facebook.com/renemartindance.com)