From Moulin Rouge to Carson City, her life has been a musical | NevadaAppeal.com

From Moulin Rouge to Carson City, her life has been a musical

Rhonda Costa-Landers, Appeal Staff Writer

Gina Kaskie Davis stands in her dance studio Western Nevada Performing Arts Center Wednesday afternoon.

Gina Kaskie Davis says her whole life has been a musical.

Even before she started taking dance lessons at the age of 8, she would dance along with musicals on television.

“At the age of 11 I worked my first semi-professional show,” Davis said.

Davis says dancing came naturally to her. Though sidelined for a year at the age of 16 with an injury, dancing was something she wanted to do all along.

Davis grew up in the small town of Morecambe, England. At the age of 18, she auditioned for Moulin Rouge in Paris and worked the show for one year.

“When I came home, I received a parade and talked to all the media. That’s how small this town was.

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“The biggest change for me was from my hometown in England to Paris. I was like this little fish in a big pond. But I found what I wanted to do — it was dancing. I maybe took two nights a month off.”

In February 1978, Davis auditioned for and received a part in the “Hello, Hollywood, Hello” production at the MGM in Reno. She worked the show for 11 years, even giving birth to three children during that time.

“I danced until I was five months pregnant with each child,” smiled Davis.

Davis now has five children; Alisha, 19; Erica, 15; Alex, 13; Mikey, 11, and Haley, 3. Her three daughters, Alisha, Erica and Haley, all dance — taught by their mom.

Davis, now 43, met her husband, John Davis (owner of Java Joe’s), after acquiring an affection for lattZs. After walking into Java Joe’s one day, Gina looked at John, he looked at her, there was a connection and the rest is history.

“I bought a lot of lattZs from him,” joked Gina.

“We’ll be married five years in July. We dated more than a year before we married.”

The tall and graceful Davis has taught all styles of dance for 17 years in Carson City. Until three and one-half years ago, her business was Gina Kaskie Dancers. She now calls it Western Nevada Performing Arts Center.

In addition to teaching, she choreographs for Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company and instructs and choreographs for Carson High School’s musical theatre department.

“I have more than 200 students,” Davis said. “From the age of three to a woman who will be 75 next Monday. And it’s all been through word of mouth.”

Her teachings keep her busy 50 hours a week, plus there’s the competitions she attends with her students. There are solo, duo and group performances.

“I have a very patient family. They grab me when they can.”

Davis tried to give up dancing once, and found herself winning an audition — she took two students to — and working another eight years, until she officially retired five years ago.

“My fish net tights were bronzed,” said Davis.

Davis now concentrates on her students. She encourages them in the competitions and reminds them, it’s not about winning a trophy, but doing what brings out the best in them.

She said competitions are like an audition, it gives the student the same pressure. They have to give it all they’ve got.

“They’re being judged for their skills and if they do better than last year, they’ve improved. Or if they stumble and fall, they get up and go on.

“The dance studio has a good reputation and I have to keep their egos in check. I want them to be nice and not show off,” she said.

Her students have reached professional levels, some former students are: currently in the Moulin Rouge show, touring in Europe, with the Rockettes and with a professional dance group in Los Angeles.

Davis said there’s not much about her many people don’t already know. She’s very emotional and will cry at the drop of a hat.

“I do cry a lot, for sentimental reasons,” she said. “To anybody I’m an emotional basket case. I think being a sentimental fool is what endears me to most people.”