How long have you been working in the field of Male Comedy Ballet?
I started dancing in Male Comedy Ballet in 1986, when I joined Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo. I danced with them for almost ten years, and I was lucky enough to dance most of the leading roles in the company. I also got a wonderful opportunity to dance Black Swan Pas de Deux with one of the major dance stars in the world. That was long before Natalie Portman even knew who Odile was. I was offered a great opportunity to be the founder and artistic director of Les Ballets Grandiva. I held that position for thirteen years. It was a great time in my life, and I am thankful to Zak Corporation for believing in my ability to create a new Male Comedy Ballet company and Retfar Entertainment for giving me a chance to reinvent the artform. We are so happy to now be Ballet Eloelle/Grandiva
Why did you decide to dance and work in comedy ballet?
I did it because I loved ballet and was too small to work in a traditional company, so it was the only way for me to have a career in ballet. I was also attracted to the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. However, after I started performing, I loved the immediate interaction with the audience. The opportunity to engage with a live audience and to get them to laugh and applaud is an incredible feeling.
Why did you leave the field?
About two years ago I hit a point where I wasn’t enjoying myself. I felt that I was maintaining a show and not being creative anymore. I also wanted to spend time with my family, especially my mother who was almost 90 years old at the time. I felt that I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be with her at the end of her life. There were other factors, but basically I felt I needed to take a break and try to recapture the reasons I was in this field in the first place.
Why did you decide to return?
I realized that I miss dance and, in particular, comedy dance. I wanted to make people laugh again and have a good time. I think that is my reason for being here. The opportunities that have fallen into my lap with regards to comedy dance are unusual, so it just feels right to return to what I love.
What are you hoping to accomplish this time with Ballet Eloelle/Grandiva?
I am hoping to combine strong dance elements with a lot of fun to entertain audiences and, ultimately, to make people laugh. I have always seen what I do as an introduction to dance for people who wouldn’t necessarily attend a dance performance. Victor Borge used his comedy on the piano to break barriers for classical music for audiences that felt that cultural events require a lot of knowledge to understand and appreciate classical music. Our mission is essentially the same for classical and contemporary dance. Of course people who have a greater understanding of dance will appreciate the show on a different level, but it is not necessary for having a great time.
Why did you name it Ballet Eloelle?
When you break it down, El is the Spanish word for him, O is actually the word for or, and Elle is the French word for her. The name loosly translates to “him or her,” which references the basic essence of our company. When you pronounce it, LOL means to laugh out loud. I thought that pretty much sums it all up. It is also really easy to remember.