She Dares to Dance Deeply
by Cate Murway

"The dancer of the future will be one whose body and soul have grown so harmoniously together that the natural language of that soul will have become the movement of the human body. The dancer will not belong to any nation but to all humanity."  –Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)

Modern Dance is the self-expression movement of the universe concentrated in an individual displaying originality, depth and boldness. The dances are simple and elegant but at the same time difficult and powerful, while the dancer tries to release the inner feelings in an outer expression of thematic coherence using a variation of dance forms.

Christina Maria Gesualdi, a superbly trained dancer, Villa Joseph Marie ’03, will graduate from the Academy of the Arts in Philadelphia this May with a B.F.A in Modern Performance with a Choreography Emphasis. Her early dancing career began as a “Binker” of 4 years old at the “Carol Willson Studio One” that was established in the Borough in 1988. Owner and dance instructor of the professionally run studio, Carol Willson Wagner, Winter Park High School ’67 [a notable performing arts program], Orange County, FL/ Southern Methodist University, School of the Arts ’71, a private university in Dallas, TX, shared that Christina was always “more creative and uninhibited” and that she truly “blossomed in The Avallon Dance Company”. Membership in this tight-knit company is by audition only. Christina, “a really talented choreographer”, according to Carol, choreographed her first piece at the age of 14. Dance instructor, Andrea Lynn Eble, VJM ‘95/DeSales University ’99, Center Valley, PA agrees, stating, “Christina is so athletic, talented, so open and eager to learn. She was always a pleasure to work with.”  Andrea attended Christina’s self-produced show of “Essential Excavations”, a contemporary dance exploring feminine vulnerability and oppression, and was “blown away with the improvisnation with the ball; it was so connected from the beginning to the end!”

University of the Arts School of Dance choreography emphasis senior Christina Gesualdi presented “Pink Pleated Plaid”, “an imaginative and personal plunge into the world of an all girls’ Catholic High School” at the UArts Dance Theater at the Drake on Spruce Street in Philadelphia. The contemporary dance, spontaneous and highly personal, resonated with honesty and humanity. After the fresh and innovative performances, she was part of the post-show choreographer/audience chat session, verbally demonstrating that she has developed an individual artistic vision with new and exciting forms of expression and inspiration. Her dance technique, the source of interest and energy was the centre of the body, not its extremities, has progressed in expertise, strength and flexibility.

Christina’s parents, “concrete-sequential” N.J. Treasury Department employee, jazz tenor saxophone player Mark Louis, BHS ‘67/Trenton State College ’71 and “abstract random” reading specialist teacher and Title 1 federal program coordinator, Mary [Younglove] Gesualdi, Bishop Conwell ‘68/Trenton State‘77/ College of N.J Principalship ’85 met at an Edgely Fire Hall dance in 1968. They danced to a “slow song” “Sad Girl” and enjoyed a decade long romantic engagement with all its twists and complicated, inexplicable turns. Mary said Mark was “trying for the Guinness Book.”

Her paternal grandparents, Nicholas and Dorothy, both BHS ’47 owned Nick’s Barber Shop for over 32 years and were happily together for 60 years. Maternal grandmother, Helen [Mahan] graduated from St. Mark's Commercial Program in 1922 and grandfather, Arthur Younglove graduated from High School in Illinois in 1917.

excerpted from October 1948 issues of THE BRISTOL COURIER. 
printed in the BCHF Gazette:

Miss Dorothy I. Herring Becomes the Wife of Mr. Nicholas Gesualdi.
A young woman resident of Hayes Street and a young man whose home is on Dorrance Street, both graduates of Bristol
High School, were wed on Saturday afternoon. Members of the Herring and Gesualdi families were in attendance at a reception at the Gesualdi home. The bride and groom are honeymooning in New York, N.Y.

St. Ann parishioners Mary and Mark welcomed their daughter Christina Maria in July 1985. 

Christina shared that she had great experiences at The Pen Ryn School in Fairless Hills and she claims her favorite classes at Villa Joseph Marie in Holland, PA were the science disciplines, especially Anatomy. There was little time for extracurricular activities at school given that her life always revolved around dance, ever since her parents presented with a “Barbie” tutu.  One after-school commitment the National Honor Society student participated in was “Health Services”, where she was able to sing, and played Bingo or assisted with crafts with the Nursing Home residents. Even her Science Fair project involved dance! She proved that “forcing a 180 degree turnout” is injurious to the knees.  Her first dance show performance in the “Carol Willson Studio One” her freshman year, was on the 7th floor of the Grundy Industrial Complex on Canal Street where it has been located since 2000. Every summer in August, since her freshman year in H.S., she has attended the intensive Martha Graham [dubbed “Dancer of the Century”] Workshop to learn to “increase the emotional activity of the dancer’s body”. She is truly committed to her revolutionary interpretive dance craft to expose the depths of human emotion through movement. Christina unselfishly donated her time to choreograph a dance for the 6th graders at the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School to participate in the African American Historical and Cultural Society of Bucks County for the unveiling of the Harriet Ross Tubman Monument at the Bristol Lions Park. Her “students” chaperoned by the Society Board member, Mrs. Denise Smith, came to watch Christina’s performance at the Drake Theatre on March 9th.                         

Dean’s list student with a 3.85 G.P.A., Christina is blessed with multi-talents; “has a heck of an ear” for the piano, and versatility, as she is able to do so many things well. She is good at presenting her ideas and concepts. This, and her apparent adaptability will give her an edge, spelling success when it comes to her dance writing and choreography talents. She presents a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance with a smorgasbord of ideas, themes and emotions. Her birthstone is a Ruby gemstone whose properties are said to open one's heart.

Christina admits “she had a ‘Swiss cheese’ personality in high school, with a lot of holes and gaps in her character.” She willingly shares advice for Bristol Borough youth, “Realize that you are a work-in-progress and be patient with yourself in your struggles to figure out what really defines you as a person. If you are interested in a certain discipline within the Arts: READ articles in the Arts section of The New York Times that interest you. (You can read it for free at The Grundy Library!). SEE as much Art as you can.  Take advantage of student discounts. DISCUSS- Ask your doctor, your grandma, your teacher, your hairdresser, etc. if they are into the arts.  Ask them about their favorite book, movie, music group, dance company, etc.  Tell them about your own artistic discipline, and invite them to one of your shows.”
She is so expressive of all her different passions and has such a constructive use of freedom. There will be a plethora of career choices and a powerful creative and inspirational life for the visionary Christina after she takes her final bow at the University of the Arts.

To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted:

Bristol Pilot > News

Mary Gesualdi retires after 39 years in education in Bristol Borough
Thursday, June 25, 2009

By Sid Taylor; Special to the Pilot

On Thursday evening, the Buck Hotel in Feasterville, Pa., 
was the scene for the grand retirement celebration for 
Mary Younglove Gesualdi. 
It was a night she will long remember, a night of stories 
told by the many lives she touched – 
from formers students, colleagues and her Puerto Rican Mother.

This celebration was supposed to be for the closing of Mary’s career in Education, in reality it is the beginning of new things to come.

Tony Gesualdi acted as Master of Ceremony in a gracious style. Mark, Mary’s husband warmly welcomed the guests. Karen Rodriguez, a former student of Mary’s, started the evening off by dedicating a beautiful rendition of “You Are My Hero” to Mary.

The evening was filled with kudos for Mary. Individuals from all walks of life only had praise for her passion of teaching, her caring spirit and constant encouragement and for the attention and inspiration she gave to those she loved dearly and came in contact with during her 39 years of service. Mary not only had the gift of teaching; she also had the gift to build lasting relationships.  Mary is an engine that just will not stop. She will continue to do many good things in the field of Education.

Tears were flowing from the eyes of the persons giving the praises. Mary, in return, gave accolades to them for making her life what it is today. She took time to acknowledge everyone who was present for this momentous event.

No, Mary Younglove Gesualdi is not going to hang it us yet. This will be the beginning of a new vital force for her in the field of Education.

Christina Maria Gesualdi
 Christina's parents
 Christina's students
 Christina performing