The young face of ballet
The young face of ballet
By Katie Krieger
Can’t get enough of “Dance Moms” and “Dancing with the Stars”? Dance in reality TV and the media certainly has our attention, but what does it really take to have a career in the performing arts? Albert Gordon, McLean resident and winner of the Princess Grace Award at the Washington School of Ballet, tells us how intense it is to be a ballet student. Gordon was the only student nominated from the Washington School of Ballet, and was one of six dancers nationwide to win the prestigious Princess Grace award, based on artistic excellence and technique.
After talking with Gordon for just a few minutes his maturity level and chaotic schedule makes it easy to forget that he is only 17 years old. Gordon has sacrificed the average teen lifestyle by doing “35 hours of rehearsal a week and half days at [St. Andrew’s Episcopal School]. I’m also an Eagle Scout but I don’t really have much time to do that.”
Gordon began dancing in 2005 with the Washington School of Ballet because, “I have no clue. I just asked my mom one day if I could start ballet, and from the minute I started my first dance class I loved it,” he says. In 2010 he became more serious about the craft, gaining him recognition by winning the Grand Prix at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) in Torrington, Conn., winning gold at the Boston International Ballet Competition (BIBC), and this June being asked to join Boston Ballet II.
The face of ballet is evolving as the art continues to become more popular. “The dance in general is not changing so much but I think a lot more people are getting interested in it. The stereotype of only girls doing ballet is going away. It’s becoming less gender specific.” It could be that the media attention is finally getting us all hooked on dance, but Gordon insists “media is not an accurate representation of what the art form is. I don’t think people are gaining more interest because of media, I think it’s just more people are curious.” What media doesn’t tell you is that ballet is “much more of an exclusive art form. You only know about it if you make the effort to learn about it.”
Gordon’s ultimate goal is to continue pursuing his passion by landing a professional position as a performer. Gordon says it won’t be easy, “Older people stop kind of doing it because they can’t find jobs. From what I’ve heard the auditions they go to are packed. It sounds stressful. There are so many people that are really good but there are not a lot of jobs.” As ballet seems to be gaining more attention, whether it be from media or just curiosity, Gordon hopes that the art continues to evolve in the U.S. “In other places like Europe and Russia it’s such a big part of their culture. I hope that’s what ballet is becoming here.”