Villa honors Miss Linda

Villa Maria Academy honored alumna Linda Giancaspro last month. Giancaspro teaches ballet in Locust Point to children like Olivia Mancino, 9. Photo by Victor Chu

Linda Giancaspro is and always will be a Villa girl. Villa Maria Academy presented Giancaspro with a Decades of Achievement award on Saturday, May 9.

The dance instructor and two of her pupils treated a crowd of more than 100 people to an excerpt from Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird ballet. It was the third annual Decades of Achievement event at Villa. Ten other alumni were honored.

Villa alumna Jennifer Stewart, an Artistic Dance pupil, presented Giancaspro, who operates out of Locust Point. Stewart sang her instructor’s praises.

“The ceremony as lovely,” Giancaspro said. “It was heartwarming to accept the award. When you go back to Villa, you go home.”

Born and raised in Locust Point, Giancaspro discovered art and music at Villa. She took piano lessons and French.

“Villa was strong in the arts,” Giancaspro said. “Inspirational.”

When she was in the eighth grade, Giancaspro and a friend choreographed and performed a liturgical dance at mass. The nuns trusted her to deliver a tasteful routine, and she did.

Giancaspro attended Preston High School and the American Ballet Theater in Manhattan. As a professional ballerina, she spent time with the Delaware Regional Ballet and the Rabovsky Ballet Company. Her forte is the Russian style. A quarter-century ago, Giancaspro opened Artistic Dance.

“People think of ballet as stuck-up, boring,” Giancaspro said. “ Spend time with me and you’ll find out how much fun ballet can be.”

Her pupils are toddlers, teens and adults; Giancaspro mentors a handful of ballerinas from Villa, St. Benedict, St. Frances de Chantal, P.S. 14 and P.S. 72.

“Linda is an accomplished ballerina,” said Anne Eduardo, development director at Villa. “Dedicated to her pupils and to Villa, she’s a great asset to the school, a great friend and a role model.”

Sister Elizabeth Moroney, former teacher and principal, class of 1947, Marina O’Connell, nurse, class of 1958, Helen Cannistraci, choral conductor, class of 1964, Ronald Hoina, architect, class of 1978 were honored.

So were Dawn Marcianti, downtown executive, class of 1981, Ortelio Bello, fitness expert, class of 1988, Michael Caserta, business analyst, class of 1993, Alison Keavery, Harvard grad, class of 1999, Joan Paciello, Manhattan College graduate, class of 2000, and Louis Pulice, Boston College graduate, class of 2000.

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