By Brian Scott Lipton
Roberto Bolle is not only one of the most recognizable names in the world of classical ballet, he’s also one of its most recognizable – and handsome – faces. A principal dancer with New York City’s American Ballet Theatre and a frequent guest artist overseas at La Scala and The Royal Ballet, the impossibly chiseled 28-year-old dancer has also modeled for Ferragamo and appeared in U.S. Vogue.
On Tuesday, September 17, at 7:00 pm, Bolle will take center stage as host and star performer of “Roberto Bolle and Friends” at New York City Center. This special two-act gala will feature such internationally renowned artists as Herman Cornejo, Alina Somova, Lucia Lacarra, Alicia Amatriain, and Maria Kochetkova. The hand-picked troupe will be dancing in an eclectic program that will range from the premiere of the solo “Prototype” to the little-known Italian classic “Excelsior” to more beloved pieces such as John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Michel Fokine’s “Dying Swan.”
“Italy is very well known for the arts and culture, but less for ballet, so that’s why we’re coming here to promote this program,” says Bolle. “I hope audiences can discover something new about our culture.”
Indeed, the Italian-born dancer wasn’t even exposed to this art form until he began taking lessons in his small town at the age of 7. In a few years, however, it became apparent that ballet might just become Bolle’s future profession. “I went to study ballet at the school at La Scala in Milan when I was 11,” he recalls. “My parents were very supportive of anything I would have loved to do, so they encouraged me to go. They knew how important it was for me to go to the best ballet school in Italy if I was going to do ballet professionally.”
One purpose of the City Center program, says Bolle, is to attract a non-traditional ballet audience. “I think it’s very important to introduce ballet to young people,” he says. “In many ways, I try to reach different people. It’s why I do advertising and work with great photographers like Bruce Weber. I like to make people from other worlds become interested in dance.”
As of now, though, Bolle hasn’t dabbled in one particular world: acting. Would he like to follow in the steps of Mikhail Baryshnikov and focus on a big-screen career? “It would be great to experience it, to discover a different world and see how that world works,” he admits. “But I don’t think I would do too much.”
Indeed, Bolle is firmly focused on his dancing, which includes touring this program later this year in Italy, the premiere of a new ballet at La Scala in December by frequent collaborator Alexei Ratmansky, and the 2014 American Ballet Theatre season.
As for predicting the distant future, he’s not quite there yet. “I will perform until the moment I can no longer enjoy it, or the public can no longer enjoy watching me,” he says. “And then I might become a director of a company. My life will always be in ballet. But honestly, I don’t think about all that now.”
September 17th, 2013 7:00 PM
New York City Center Theater
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