SF Ballet School Faculty Spotlight: Rubén Martín Cintas


Rubén Martín Cintas was born in Reus, Spain and trained at the Escuela Municipal de Danza and Estudio de Danza de María de Avila. After dancing with English National Ballet, he joined SF Ballet as a corps de ballet member in 2000. He was promoted to soloist in 2003 and named a principal dancer three years later. After retiring from the Company in 2014, Rubén became a principal character dancer, in addition to joining the SF Ballet School faculty. 

Rubén Martín Cintas with a student from SF Ballet School's 2015 Summer Session. (© Chris Hardy)

Rubén Martín Cintas with a student from SF Ballet School’s 2015 Summer Session.
(© Chris Hardy)

Why did you decide to teach after retiring?
I knew it made sense to stay in ballet after retiring because I had put so many years into it. I wanted to test out teaching and see how I felt, so I started about three years before I retired. At first it was hard to build up my confidence, but I knew in my last year and a half of dancing that it was what I wanted to do.

Is there anyone in particular who inspires your teaching?
[School Associate Director] Patrick Armand is definitely the person who influences my teaching the most. In the beginning I watched and took his classes to see how it felt on my own body. His concepts and ideas are similar to my training, and he also had really good little tips that I used for myself.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far in teaching?
When I first started teaching, my biggest accomplishment was developing a class that made sense. After a couple years, you start to see things click with the students, and you see how your instruction affects their dancing. The end-of-year exams have been a really great way to gauge their growth. The students are out there, and you see all those corrections coming together. You realize that all of that investment in them has been for a reason and it’s worth it!

How was the transition for you going from principal dancer to faculty member?
When I retired, I was glad that I had the career I had and thankful that I had a job to transition into so smoothly. It was hard to remove myself from the company a bit, because it’s very glamorous—going to dinners often and having fans—but I knew I had to focus on the students now. But having tested the waters, I knew teaching was something I wanted to do for a long time.

Rubén Martín Cintas with a student from SF Ballet School's 2015 Summer Session. (© Chris Hardy)

Rubén Martín Cintas with students from SF Ballet School’s 2015 Summer Session. (© Chris Hardy)

Any words of wisdom for students wanting to make a career out of ballet?
First off, the tendency that I see with my students is that material can easily be forgotten. Try to visualize what you’re learning and implement it by testing it on yourself. Next, always be open to absorbing new information. If the way one teacher is communicating doesn’t click, it’s going to work with the next teacher, so you have to be open to everyone and willing to absorb all the information you can. And lastly, consistency is important. You have to be consistent with your work day after day, and you have to show up and work for it.

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