For NCDT’s Janes, Carmazzi, dance life takes backseat to family life

Sasha Janes, Rebecca Carmazzi and family. Provided photo.

Rabab Al-SharifStaff Writer

After a long day in the studios with the dancers of North Carolina Dance Theatre, Sasha Janes just wants to go home, crack open a beer and have his face painted like a butterfly.

The NCDT associate artistic director and choreographer’s 3½-year-old daughter Jaidyn would paint her parents’ faces everyday if they’d let her.

Face painting, trips to the park and riding around with three kids on one bike are now as much a part of Janes’ life as ballet classes and rehearsals.

Janes and his wife, former NCDT principal ballerina Rebecca Carmazzi have known each other for 17 years. Before they were Mom and Dad to Jaidyn and her 21-month-old twin brothers — Ryker and Taurin — Janes and Carmazzi were dancing together at the Dayton Ballet.

It wasn’t love at first sight though. It wasn’t allowed to be. At the time, both dancers were in other relationships. After many years dancing together, the couple developed a friendship that eventually blossomed into more.

After knowing each other for more than 10 years, Janes and Carmazzi decided it was time to take their relationship to the next level. It was time to have a baby.

“We thought we better hurry up and have some kids before I get too old to pick them up,” Janes laughed.

The real reason, Carmazzi said, was because her older sister and Janes’ older brother had started having children and they wanted their children to have cousins close in age.

As for marriage, they weren’t in any rush. They knew they wanted to be together, and that was enough.

“It wasn’t a question,” she said. “We just always knew.”

Janes is from Perth, Australia, and Carmazzi is from Urbana, Ohio. With Janes’ family living in Australia, they knew it was going to be difficult to get everyone together for a wedding.

So they put it off until this year when the opportunity presented itself.

Janes’ new piece “Dangerous Liaisons” premiered at the end of April, and his entire family was making a trip to the U.S. to be there.

“We thought it’s the perfect time, and it’s probably never going to happen again,” Carmazzi said.

In May, the couple headed to Aruba with their three children and families to tie the knot.

Family tradition

Jaidyn is already following in her parents’ footsteps. She takes creative movement classes and sits in on rehearsals.

“She loves going to the studio, sitting and watching,” Carmazzi said. “I think she could just sit there all day.”

But she doesn’t just watch, Janes said. She actively participates. She’ll ask her parents questions throughout, and give her own opinions.

“She never likes my choreography the best,” Janes said. “She always likes something else.”

Especially if there are tutus or pretty dresses involved.

It’s no surprise; she’s been exposed to ballet since before she was born.

When Carmazzi was pregnant, she danced until she was in her third trimester. Three months after Jaidyn was born, Carmazzi was back at work.

A babysitter would bring Jaidyn to the dance studio when Carmazzi had rehearsals so that she could feed her on her breaks.

“I never thought I’d see the day where in Rebecca’s change room she’d be pumping milk before a performance,” Janes said.

Carmazzi continued dancing until she learned she was pregnant again, this time with twins. As a high-risk pregnancy, Carmazzi had to stop dancing pretty quickly.

Now Carmazzi and Janes bring the kids to the studio on occasion. Jaidyn will sit quietly and closely watch rehearsal from a bench, while Taurin and Ryker watch from their stroller.

Although the dancers work very hard in rehearsals, working for a professional dance company allows for a family oriented lifestyle.

“I mean, you wouldn’t bring your kids into a Wall Street office,” he said.

Now it’s time for the couple to decide if they want more children.

“We talk about it,” he said. “If we win the lottery it might be easier.”

They wonder if they’re crazy, Carmazzi said.

“If we knew we weren’t going to have twins it would help,” Janes said.

“We would knock on wood a few times,” Carmazzi agreed.

The whole family isn’t against another set of twins though. Jaidyn told her mother that she wanted her to have girl twins next.

“I said ‘OK I’ll put the order in,’” Carmazzi laughed.