Meet Mariclaire: Our Quirky (and Artistic Genius) Instructor at Dancers Shape

I spotted Dancers Shape instructor Mariclaire Gamble immediately at Starbucks. The tall, slender, platinum blonde is hard to miss. We pulled up a seat and chatted about her artistic pursuits, the unexpected opportunities she’s had, and the future. On top of being extremely talented, I found the Texas native to be kind, humble, wise beyond her years, and refreshingly awkward deep down inside.

Here’s the lowdown on Gamble:

    • In addition to working as a Dancers Shape instructor, Gamble is a member of the Kathy Dunn Hamrick dance company and is recording music for an upcoming album release. That’s right; she’s a song bird and describes her musical style as soul and folk meet Swedish and French rock pop. You can listen to some tracks from her 2007 album by searching “Mariclaire” on iTunes. “I consider The Cardigans, Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple, and Ella Fitzgerald my biggest musical influences,” she says.
    • She was daddy’s prodigy growing up. Gamble says her father (who passed away a little over a year ago) encouraged her to pursue the arts. “He had dreams of Broadway but worked as a lawyer to support our family of five,” she says. “He was my vocal coach and put me in dance lessons at age 3.”
    • Dance has opened some exciting doors for her. Dance was Gamble’s major at The University of Texas at Austin. “I won a contest at UT and got a plane ticket to New York City to audition to be a Radio City Rockette. I made it to the second round, but I realized throughout the process that the Rockette world wasn’t for me,” she says.
    • She’s a movie star (sort of). Her dance ability caught the attention of a talent scout for movie director Terrence Malick. “A woman showed up at the Kathy Dunn Hamrick dance studio one day and recorded us. A week later I got a call and was offered a part as an extra in a Terrence Malick movie,” she says. Look for Gamble in the as-yet-unnamed Terrence Malick-directed music drama starring Ryan Gosling (swoon) and Rooney Mara (lucky duck). Watch for her in one of Rooney Mara’s nightmare sequences.
    • She’s quirky. Similar to Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl character, Jess, Gamble transforms normal conversations into song lyrics. “I feel like the quirkiest, most awkward person sometimes,” she admits.

At this point, Gamble doesn’t have her future completely mapped out but says she’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure dance and music are always staples in her life.

“In regard to my future, I want to take it one day at a time,” she says. “I love working at Dancers Shape. When people ask what I do, I say, ‘I teach barre fitness. I wear a headset’.”


About the Author:

Crystal Conde is an Austin-based writer with more than a decade of experience in the journalism industry. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in the magazine sequence. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, going to movies and concerts, and spending time with her fiance, Patrick, and her dachshund mix, Saffron.