Summer Series: Candid Conversations with the Pros
Get to know BalletMet Company Artist
Andrew Rossi began his dance training in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh and the Dance Conservatory of Pittsburgh. He then studied at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Arts Management. Upon graduating, he joined Kansas City Ballet as an apprentice. A year later he joined BalletMet, where he is currently a company dancer. Mr. Rossi has had the opportunity to perform ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Sasha Janes, Sarah Wroth, Michael Vernon, Mark Morris, Antony Tudor, Christopher Wheeldon, Edwaard Liang, Michael Pink, Lila York, and Septime Webre.
Partnering plays a large part in the dance world, particularly for male dancers. How have you become a strong partner?
"First and foremost, I developed the muscle strength and coordination necessary to lift my partners by doing supplemental weight training on top of everyday rehearsals. That being said, I’ve learned that it is important to prioritize showcasing your partner rather than worrying exactly how you look. While it is important to present yourself well, I think the best partners make sure to put their partner’s comfort level before their own to ensure the overall picture looks good."
How has being a “smart" dancer helped you in your career?
“Being a smart dancer has allowed me to establish myself as a trustworthy and reliable asset during the rehearsal process. With my reputation for being able to adapt quickly and focus on specific details of choreography, répétiteurs have been able to count on me to learn intricate sequences and multiple tracks, sometimes even at the last minute! I am very grateful to had the opportunity to perform as a guest with different companies upon the recommendation by répétiteurs that I have worked with in the past."
When you are performing, do you get nervous? If so, how do you calm your nerves?
“Yes I do get nervous, but then I remember that it’s a very natural thing and it shows that I care about what I’m producing. I then just try to go and have fun and remind myself that the audience is on my side. They want me to succeed as much I do!“
At The Ballet Scout, we want dancers of all backgrounds to pursue their dreams regardless of their age, level or physical ability. What is a piece of advice you would go back and give yourself when you first started attending ballet auditions(whether it be for companies, schools, or summer intensives)?
“I didn’t switch from a musical theater background to a solely dance focus until high school. Because of this, there were times when I felt behind and didn’t always get into the summer intensives or traineeships that I had hoped for. Looking back, I would want to tell myself that rejection will happen, but it doesn’t equate to total failure. Every dancer has their own path and just because yours might seem unconventional (like staying at a small studio through high school or going to college before joining a company), it is still very possible to have a professional career in ballet!"