romy keegan

romy keegan

Classic Ballet-Afrique.....just didn't know it yet!

Classic Ballet-Afrique.....just didn't know it yet!

Gina shaw, my mom and inspiration, tending to her little ones. she owned valle del norte dance studio in the late 70’s, and directed a community dance company called ballet petite.

Gina shaw, my mom and inspiration, tending to her little ones. she owned valle del norte dance studio in the late 70’s, and directed a community dance company called ballet petite.

Co-Owner and Director of Maple Street Dance Space Along with the help of my husband Tim Keegan, I am so grateful to meet, work with, and provide space and support for, artists and teachers of all kinds, and to get to create and teach myself, joyfully sharing the healing, transformative power of dance with dancers of all ages and experience levels. In both capacities, I celebrate the strength, grace and confidence gained through the practice and self expression of dance, particularly as it relates to community, a sense of belonging, diversity, and ultimately, unity…through dance.


Coming from a family of dancers, with her grandmother and great aunt having been well known performers in Germany and the US until the early 60s, and with her mother having been a ballerina and studio owner, as well, Romy has been involved in, and influenced by dance all her life. She began ballet at age 3, and went on to dance with the New Mexico Ballet Company under the direction of Suzanne Johnston. She continued her ballet studies at UNM, until becoming a ballet teacher herself, at Hayden School of Ballet, under the further guidance and inspiring instruction of Celia Dale and Joanne Emmons. Her African dance studies began in 1990 with a variety of teachers from both the US and Africa, including Sarah Brown, Kim Vetter, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Mary Nakigan, and visiting teachers, Mabiba MBenge, Titos Sompa, Youssef Koumbassa, Djenba Sako, Assane Kouyate & Abdoulaye Camara, among others.

Since 1998 Romy has enjoyed a diverse and rewarding career as a dance teacher having taught both ballet and African dance, in many of our public and private schools, from kindergarten through high school, various dance studios, including Hayden’s, Keshet, NM Dance Academy, and of course, Maple Street, in public settings such as The Albuquerque Museum, the Abq Zoo, Abq Open Spaces, and for a variety of summer camps and kids programs, including The National Dance Institute, International Folk Dance Camp, NM Jazz Workshop, Full Circle Summer Camp, and Harwood Art Camp.

With her unusual combination of ballet training and years of African dance classes, in 2012 she began exploring and developing her own unique movement technique, which she calls Ballet-Afrique. It is intended to capture the spirit of the open, accessibility of a community African dance class, as well as its organic and natural movement, while harnessing the focus, flexibility, strength, and grace, inherent in basic ballet technique. The creative utilization of both styles of movement produces a playful, dynamic, and exuberantly graceful contemporary fusion, suitable and accessible, for all ages and experience levels. This is where Romy’s creative heart and spirit currently resides.

Sonja & Bianca, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1945. My 19 year old grandmother, who danced with a touring Italian dance company, and my 13 year old great aunt, at the end of the war, and at the very beginning of a professional partnership that spanned 2 decades, and 2 continents. Along with my great grandmother, who sewed their costumes, they miraclulously survived the bombing of Dresden, which destroyed literally everything they had. Just a short time after this photo was taken, Sonja was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was predicted to take her life, but took only her sight. She continued to dance until she was 74.

Sonja & Bianca, Hamburg, Germany, circa 1945. My 19 year old grandmother, who danced with a touring Italian dance company, and my 13 year old great aunt, at the end of the war, and at the very beginning of a professional partnership that spanned 2 decades, and 2 continents. Along with my great grandmother, who sewed their costumes, they miraclulously survived the bombing of Dresden, which destroyed literally everything they had. Just a short time after this photo was taken, Sonja was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was predicted to take her life, but took only her sight. She continued to dance until she was 74.

Throughout her eclectic dance career, Romy has also presented, choreographed, improvised and performed in any number of local ensembles, companies, venues and community events. In the last several years she has enjoyed collaborating on various cross disciplinary creative projects with artists and creatives connected through Women & Creativity, and performing with jazz vocalist, Marietta Benevento. Romy and Marietta, along with singer, Diane Richardson, are founding members of the Jazz Performing Arts Collective, who’s aim is to educate and keep energized, the appreciation for historical jazz greats through collaborative performances. Along with these projects, Romy continues to engage intimately and directly with students and audiences, in all the varieties of ways, always offering a doorway to dance, and hopping to inspire and engage the next would-be dancer.

Romy is, and will always be, profoundly grateful for ALL her teachers along the way, for those who have lead her, both directly and indirectly, to becoming a dance teacher herself, and a dancer, “for the people”, and for continuing to inspire her in her own love of dance!