Costume designer continues to tap into passion for dance
By Menka Belgal
Christine Martorana keeps herself very busy with two jobs, both in the performing arts. With El Dorado Musical Theatre, where she’s been for the past 11 years, she is the costume designer, costume and prop rental manager, director of the Performing Arts Institute and a tap dancing instructor.
At Center Stage Dance Academy she is the tap director for three tap companies, a recreational tap instructor, local school dance instructor and Disney director. She’s been there 11 years as well.
What do you like most about your jobs?
I love the creativity and fun of making a difference in the lives of young people.
What were you doing
I was previously a sales and marketing manager for a legal services company. Initially, I was a jazz and tap dance instructor through high school and early into college. Tap became my true passion, which is my primary focus now.
How did you get started in designing costumes for EDMT?
My oldest daughter was in an EDMT production and they did not have a costumer for the show. The rest is history.
What resources do you use for the costume designs?
We do a lot of research to ensure the styles in the show reflect the correct time period and feel for what the show is all about. We often turn to Broadway productions and try to replicate what has been done to create the most authentic characters possible for our performers. We are extremely detail oriented and take a head-to-toe approach in all of our costumes.
What are some of the most interesting things that have happened to you?
Having twins was pretty interesting, especially considering I was five months along before I even knew it. Being honored with the Heart and Soul award at EDMT and also recognition with numerous Elly awards for Costume Design was wonderful.
The Heart & Soul Award is the highest honor El Dorado Musical Theater gives. It is awarded to people whose volunteer efforts go well beyond the norm and their contributions have had a significant impact on the success of the organization. An Elly award is presented on behalf of SARTA the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance. They judge theatre groups throughout the region in all areas and nominate the best of the best throughout the year. In September an awards ceremony is held to present the winner in each category. The award is named after Eleanor McClatchy.
What are your three favorite places you’ve traveled to?
My three favorite places are any place Disney-related, Riviera Maya and Hawaii.
Do you give back to the community?
I sometimes feel like my life is all about giving back. I cannot say no, and try to accommodate all requests for schools and non-profit organizations. I am also a big supporter of Shriners Hospitals for Children. The reason for this is that my 14-year-old daughter is a Shriners kid. When she was 9 years old she had an accident at school which resulted in a lifelong disability. She has had multiple surgeries, including her most recent of a hip fusion. Shriners is truly the best to her and our family, and we try to reach out to the organization and the amazing kids there whenever possible.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I love anything under the beautiful sunshine: walking, swimming, and kayaking. I also enjoy cooking and entertaining.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to an airline pilot and have three beautiful children. Megan who’s 17 is a senior at Oak Ridge High School and my twins, Evan and Emily, are 14 and are eighth-graders at Marina Middle School.
Have you had any flying adventures with your husband?
I met my husband when I was only 19, just a few years back. At the time he was building his flight hours privately and also a flight instructor. On one of our first dates he took me flying in a two-seater plane. It was quite the adventure. But the most memorable was flying from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas in a four-seater airplane.
What are you most proud of?
My family of course. They are truly amazing.
What causes are you passionate about?
Anti-bullying. I just cannot tolerate bullying of any child. I’m also amazed with the wonderful support of Shriners Hospital for Children.
What are some things about you people might be surprised to learn?
My life is pretty open right now, but some may be surprised to know I wasn’t very popular growing up and was never in the “in” group. Also, I am an avid reader of romance novels. Another thing people might not know about me: when I was younger I played classical piano, but to this day, never learned to read music.