How to get my job: ballet dancer

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We're still knee deep in holiday flavor over here, so this week we decided to catch up with a ballet dancer to help us better understand how one would go about dancing around on a stage as a profession. We talked to Kevin Gaël Thomas, who is originally from France but is currently a dancer for the Colorado Ballet. His first season on the stage in Colorado saw him taking on a role in The Nutcracker before he moved on to dance in productions like Swan Lake, Don Quixote and many more.

Westword: Tell us a little about your history as a dancer.
Kevin Thomas: I started ballet when I was eight years old, because I couldn't sing properly. My mom put me in a special art school in second grade where boys were taking singing classes in the afternoon (choir style) and girls were taking ballet classes. I truly sucked at placing my voice on the right tune, so the choir teacher called for a meeting with my parents and told them that even though I didn't have any talent for singing, I could try to do ballet instead if I wanted to stay in this school. So there I was, eight years at the ballet school surrounded by 100 little girls looking at me like I was special.

I was a little nervous at first, but some older guys helped me understand that once I was on stage for the summer showcase I would feel happy I made the decision. A week later I start enjoying it very much, so much that a couple months down the road I was doing ballet competitions where I was winning gold medals. It became a passion, and when I was 16, I was offered a full scholarship to a summer program in Toronto at Canada's National Ballet School. It went so well they offered to let me stay for the next two years and to graduate from their high school. I did my junior and senior years there, and then I graduated with a job offer in the Houston Ballet.

I stayed for one season in Texas and then was offered a better position by Gil Boggs, the Artistic Director of the Colorado Ballet. I have been dancing for the Colorado Ballet since 2007, and I love it. It's a great company that fulfills me. During our lay off time in the summer I go to the International Ballet Competition, where I represent my country, France. The first one I went to was in New York City, and the second one was in Jackson, Mississippi.

WW: Why did you want to be start working as a dancer and when did you know it was what you wanted to do?
KT: After a few months in the studio I was performing on stage, and I knew that this was what I wanted to do. It became my dream that one day I will be a "principal ballet dancer" in an international ballet company. I'm not quite at that level yet in the company, but one day I will get there. I started my professional career at 18 with the Houston Ballet. I am now 22.



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