I would say that compared to the what the women face, competition is not so ruthless for men. We are all in it more for each other, a positive, friendly competition thing. That is how I was trained to view it by my teacher at San Francisco Ballet, Jorge Esquivel.
When I first started dancing, I studied at a studio in Marin that taught all styles of dance like jazz, modern, Latin American, and ballroom, along with some ballet. It was later, when I went to Marin Ballet, that I began to focus primarily on classical dance. I do think that the variety of my early training helped me be open to different styles and techniques. I also think that the diverse contemporary repertoire I had the pleasure to dance while at Houston Ballet and other classical companies helped me to be a versatile dancer.
Being an Artistic Director of two companies an ocean apart is certainly an interesting assignment. I plan to incorporate the dancers from both countries into several productions. I already have brought one male dancer from San Mateo to perform with the company in Belgrade and intend to bring three dancers from Belgrade to San Mateo to perform this season. It will be an interesting cultural exchange and benefit both the dancers and the companies.
Smuin Ballet, as part of its opening program for the 2012–2013 season, is presenting the West Coast premiere of Cold Virtues by the exciting young choreographer Adam Hougland. Popular with audience and critics alike, the work is set to Philip Glass’s haunting Violin Concerto and features fourteen dancers, whirling and leaping against a mesmerizing backdrop of spinning fans. The Louisville Courier-Journal described the ballet as “beautifully bleak, honest in unflinching fashion.”