I started dancing because my mother is a dance teacher. When she taught class when I was really young I would just be sitting around or running around, so she just decided to have me start taking class. I didn’t know any better–I just joined in. Then, as I grew up I started to realize that I really loved it. I was never forced into anything–once I got older I made the decision to keep going.
2. What are you currently doing in the field?
I am a second year dancer with The Joffrey Ballet.
3. Would you share a special moment from your career with readers?
One of the most special moments for me was my graduation performance with the Royal Ballet School at The Royal Opera House in London. To be able to dance lead roles on that stage in front of such a huge crowd was a surreal moment and I will never forget it.
4. What is the best advice you have ever received from a teacher or mentor regarding dance?
I don’t think there was any definitive piece of advice that I got that I thought was the most important, but I have my mom Andrea Paris (Los Angeles Ballet Academy) Susan Jaffe (American Ballet Theater, Principal) and Meelis Pakri (Royal Ballet School, first year teacher) to thank for the most important and greatest contributions to my career. Their advice and the faith they had in me has made me the smart, reasonable, ambitious dancer that I am today, and I’m so grateful for them.
5. What has been your greatest challenge?
There have been many ups and downs so far in my short career, but I would have to say my biggest challenge is dealing with the patella tendonitis in my knee which can be extremely painful. I have been taking care of it for a while, and some days are better then others. Thankfully I love what I do so it’s all worth it. Another challenge was leaving home at 16 to move to London and fully pursue my career at The Royal Ballet School–but that challenge paid off greatly and made me better.
6. Do you have any advice for dancers who want to go on to a professional career?
I would tell someone trying to pursue this professionally to go into it full on. Don’t come into this career if you don’t expect to work. You need to keep an open mind and be like a sponge. You have to be quick at picking up choreography and be receptive to corrections from ballet staff. Most importantly, you have to know your worth, know what your capable of and know what role you could play within a company. Always remember that you are not bigger or better then the art itself. There are always things to work on, and settling with what you already have is not an option. The ones who always work for more and try to get better are the ones who last the longest and the people audiences love and dancers respect.
7. Do you have a special routine that you go through prior to a performance?
I usually have a good lunch that fills me up and then I typically go to physical therapy at the theater to get massage and ultrasound. After that I usually listen to some music and put my make up on so I can get focused and in my “zone”. After that its time to go to the stage and DO IT.
8. Do you have any advice specifically for men who want to go into ballet?
If you are a man or boy who wants to get into ballet then …. do it. Don’t be scared and don’t worry about what other people say. If you love something and have the means to pursue it, then go for it. I got made fun of a lot when I was younger at school, but now I get to look at where I am and where those people are and know that I am a winner. I stuck with it and worked to perfect it and never gave up. I did it because I loved it and now I perform in front of thousands of people. I get to tour around America and I am surrounded by fun, beautiful people.
If you think a career in dance would be right for you then go for it, it’s liberating and filled with opportunity.
9. What do you enjoy most about your life in dance?
I enjoy performing…..
I think that is what you have to enjoy most about a life in dance. If you don’t love to perform then being involved in a “performing” art is pointless. I thrive off of it and I am most comfortable when I am on stage.
10. What is next for you?
This week I dance the Aria 2 Pas de Deux from Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto which is the second Pas de Deux. It is the Principal role and I worked really hard to get this part and get to this performance. It’s my turn and I can’t wait.
BIO: Dylan Gutierrez started his dancing career in Los Angeles under the direction of his mother Andrea Paris at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy. In 2006 he left for London to train at The Royal Ballet School with a full tuition scholarship and sponsorship from HSBC. He studied there for two years and graduated with honours. At graduation Dylan received the Cyril Beaumont Award. At Royal, Dylan performed the Pas de Deux from Concerto by Kenneth MacMillan, Gallantries by David Bintley and Unwritten by Natalie Weir. The Pas de Deux from Suite Classique by Petal Miller Ashmole was created on Dylan, and he performed in Palermo, Sicily, Orange County, California, and Dresden, Germany.
Dylan Gutierrez has performed in such ballets as George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, which was his debut performance with the San Francisco Ballet. He has also danced the Arabian and Mouse King in Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker. During San Francisco Ballet’s 2009 season he danced in Helgi Tomasson’s Prism, Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, George Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite and George Balanchine’s Jewels.
With the Joffrey Ballet Dylan has danced in Lar Lubovitch’s Othello, The Arabian in The Nutcracker, one of the four season Cavalier’s in Fredrick Ashton’s Cinderella, and the second Pas de Deux in Gerald Arpino’s Reflections.