Isabel Dubrocq is a difficult person to tie down. In addition to coaching private dance lessons, Dubrocq is on the faculty at the Sarasota Ballet School and Revelle Academy.
The 42-year-old ballet teacher and mother of three estimates she spends 55 hours a week teaching.
“I tell my students if you feel like you’re swimming upstream against a current, by all means pursue other things,” Dubrocq says. “At 15, I decided to teach because my body was not giving me the chance to dance. I could tell my life was pointed in a different direction. I did not want to become frustrated.”
This is an astute judgment call for a 15-year-old and a revealing character trait. Instead, she funneled her passion for performance into flamenco dancing. She even formed a small company when she moved to Sarasota — Rumba Flamenca.
“I learned more about my body teaching than I did dancing,” Dubrocq says.
Like all good teachers, Dubrocq is intuitive. She spent 15 years at the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza (ESMDM), a prestigious performing-arts conservatory in Monterrey, Mexico.
By 22, she was the school’s youngest ballet department head.
“I was there from the age of nine to 24 years old,” Dubrocq says breathlessly. “I literally married a guy I met at that school.”
Her husband, former National Ballet of Cuba dancer Javier Dubrocq, is also a private dance coach. The couple has three sons.
“Everyone always says, ‘You never had a ballerina,’” Dubrocq says. “I tell them I have a lot of ballerinas. My students are like my daughters.”
As if on cue, two young dancers trot past Dubrocq, who is sitting at a table outside the Sarasota Ballet.
“Hey girls!” Dubrocq chirps.
The girls’ faces light up. They hug Dubrocq, exchange pleasantries and head off to class.
“The girls in class share so much with you,” Dubrocq says. “You get excited with them. You cry with them. When they miss a turn in competition, you get anxious with them. They open their fears to you.”
Many of Dubrocq’s students have gone onto to earn principal spots with ballet companies all over the world, including Orlando Ballet’s Katia Garza, Ballet de Monterrey’s Claudia Kistler, The National Ballet of Canada’s Bridgett Zehr and Sarasota Ballet’s Kate Walsh Honea. And, many of the dancers she has taught over the years have already retired.
“I always encourage my students not to drop everything for ballet because it won’t last forever,” Dubrocq says. “You never know when the stars will be on your side and the planets will align for you.”
Dubrocq’s shining stars
“She’s going to be a major star in ballet. She won second place in the Youth America Grand Prix.”
“She just recently moved to New York. She’s just 15, but there’s really good potential there.”
“Bridgett is almost like a rare species. When you see her you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s what a ballet dancer looks like.’ She’s the whole package.”
“A beautiful musical theater actress. She started training in ballet to acquire confidence. I’ve seen her perform in Utah, Cape Cod and New York twice.”