Ballet News

Archive of: January, 2016

Interview with John Selya

Ballet Idaho: What inspired you to become a dancer?
John: Dancing is the perfect balance of sports and music and at 10 years old I began dancing with the School of American Ballet.

BI: What do you appreciate most about Nine Sinatra Songs?
John: I appreciate the complexity and simplicity of the romantic relationships. Each pas de deux is an example of certain feelings and emotions we all experience.

BI: You have worked with Twyla Tharp for over 20 years, what has been one of your favorite moments with her?
John: I think most of the moments with her are my favorite. She allows me to express myself every time I dance with her.

BI: You spent some time here in Boise last year when you came to first meet the company, what were you most looking forward to upon your return?
John: I love Boise, the community and the environment of the city. I look forward to working with the dancers and the professionalism and attitude they bring with them.

BI: When you’re away from the studio, how do you like to spend your time?
John: Surfing, as often as I can.

As a native New Yorker, John Selya trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet from 1980 – 1988. In his final year, he received the Mae L. Wien award for Outstanding Promise before joining the American Ballet Theatre. There John performed works by Balanchine, Robbins, Tharp, Mark Morris, Tetly, Kudelka, Kylian, as well as the classical repertoire. In addition to making a name for himself, John choreographed three works for the company: Moondance, Disposition and Don’t Panic. Later, John joined Twyla Tharp Dance to create and perform the central role of Eddie in Tharp’s Tony winning Broadway show, Movin’ Out. His extraordinary performance earned him a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical, an Astaire award for outstanding dancing on a Broadway stage and a Theater World Award for outstanding Broadway debut.

Since then Mr. Selya has appeared as the Mambo dancer in Damn Yankees, Scranton Slim in Guys and Dolls and Sid in Twyla Tharp’s recent Come Fly Away. In 2008, John was an “Artist-in- Residence” at New York’s Joyce SoHo, where he created two works: Tweaker and La Voix Humaine. In addition to appearing on stage, John also has appeared on screen in the movies Everyone Says I Love You, Across the Universe and Romance and Cigarettes.

John recently staged and directed the Royal Danish Ballet’s production of Tharp’s Come Fly Awaywhere the production had a historic run and earned numerous awards for the artists involved. Mr.Selya has recently been assisting Ms. Tharp in collaborating and creating a curriculum for Twyla Tharp’s school for dance in New York City.

Interview with new company member Shane Horan

We had a moment to catch up with company member, Shane Horan, who joined Ballet Idaho just before The Nutcracker, in December of 2015.

Ballet Idaho: How long have you been dancing and what got you started?
Shane: I’ve been dancing since I was 4 years old. I immediately fell in love with ballet when I first saw The Nutcracker, and since then it’s been the only thing I’ve dreamed of doing. So getting to be a professional ballet dancer is pretty special.

Ballet Idaho: What are your influences?
Shane: I’m greatly influenced by the New York City Ballet. It’s my favorite ballet company and I think the diversity of movement as well as the Balanchine style is definitely something I aspire to bring to my dancing.

How was it joining the company late in the season?
Shane: It was kind of nerve-wracking joining the season late. I mean this is my first professional job, so I was initially nervous about jumping right in with new people and having to learn Nutcracker rather quickly. However, everyone here is really supportive and encouraging, which made the transition much easier and very enjoyable.

Ballet Idaho: What has been your favorite role of your dance career thus far?
Shane: I really loved dancing in Septime Webre’s ALICE (in Wonderland) when I was in the Second Company at Kansas City Ballet. It challenged me in many ways, but the movement was beautiful and very fun to dance.

Ballet Idaho: What are you most excited about this season with Ballet Idaho?
Shane: I think I’m most excited for Valse Fantaisie this season. I may not dance in this ballet since there’s only one male role, but Balanchine is my all-time favorite choreographer. So to have the Balanchine stagers teach company class, and to see the progress of the ballet coming together will be an exciting experience for me.

Ballet Idaho: How do you spend your time out of the studio?
Shane: Outside of the studio I’m generally relaxing in some way or form. I try to hit the gym as frequently as I can, but when I’m not I like to hang out with fellow dancers and watch some movies, or go shopping. As dancers we work our bodies so much throughout the work week, it’s extremely important to make sure we rest when we can.

See Shane next on stage in Sinatra and More, February 19 and 20 at Morrison Center.

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