I’m not sure if there could be a more satisfying evening at the ballet then to take in a performance of George Balanchine’s Jewels. To me, it is one of the most perfectly constructed ballets ever created. Last year, I found myself happily seated in the second ring of the David H. Koch theatre awaiting the arrival of “Rubies,” the second jewel of the evening. As the curtain rose to reveal Balanchine’s breathtaking tableau, my eye was immediately drawn to a male dancer in the corps de ballet who possessed lines and facility that would make even his female counterparts jealous. However, as he tackled the meaty intricacies of Balanchine’s choreography, this dancer proved to be an exemplary model of what it means to be a male dancer of today. Ralph Ippolito joins us this month for Post Curtain Chat. It’s now 2011, and Ralph has a few things to say about last year, this year, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Happy New Year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2011?
Well, I don’t usually do the whole “New Year’s resolution” thing because I hardly ever keep them. However, I think my resolution this year will be to take more pictures. I got a really nice digital slr camera for Christmas, so I’m hoping to be more pro-active in documenting my life – maybe even take a photography class at Fordham.
Want to know more about digital slr cameras? Click here.
New York is one of the most famous cities in the world for New Year’s celebrations. How do you plan to ring in the New Year?
I feel like New Year’s Eve is usually a big bust. There are lots of expectations for the best night of your life, but when people around you start a new year belligerently, the night usually goes sour. This year was fun though! The boyfriend of a friend of mine owns a restaurant in downtown Manhattan on Avenue B. They threw a party with a DJ that played 50s and 60s music. I danced all night with a few of my best friends. What could be better?
What would you most like to see happen in the world in 2011?
I would love to see the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York (as well as everywhere). How same sex couples can legally be married in Iowa but not in Manhattan is baffling to me.
The Nutcracker marathon finally finished! Do you have a bit of time off afterwards? What do you plan to do?
Time off? hahaha No. We have one day off and then we have two weeks of rehearsals before we open our winter season.
Click here for more information on New York City Ballet’s winter season!
Were there any fun Nutcracker mishaps or backstage antics this year you could share with us?
Well, I have a very small head, and it’s really hard for me to find hats that fit me. For some reason, I couldn’t find the Soldier Doll hat that I wore last season. The first 5 times I performed the role this season, my hat felt a little loose but it never fell off. I figured it was fine… it wasn’t. One show my hat fell off…twice!
The next show, I went onstage for party scene and was laughing with my friend about my soldier performance that afternoon. One of the little party scene boys heard me and replied, “The soldier this afternoon was terrible! TERRIBLE!!” I simply replied “Um… that was me.” The little kid was really embarrassed and said “Your dancing was good, it’s just that your hat fell off.” A minute later this adorable little Asian girl came up to me and said “Don’t worry. Sometimes people sneeze and when they sneeze their eyes close really tight. Maybe the audience all sneezed at the same time and they thought you were perfect!”- How cute is that!?
For many the New Year represents a time of self-reflection. As you look back on 2010, what will you miss, and what are you happy to leave behind?
I don’t think I’m going to miss anything. Anything worth missing I will take with me into 2011. Looking back on 2010, the year was a time of self-discovery for me. I learned a lot about who I am as a person as well as the person that I aspire to be. I hope to continue to stay true to myself in 2011 and surround myself with positive people that care about me as much as I care about them.
Pretend you are hosting the “Ralph Ippolito New Year’s Eve Special.” Pick three icons you would have as guests for the evening and tell us why you would choose them.
Well, I guess I could answer this question seriously but that’s no fun. Ha ha! I would have a show similar to Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live on Bravo. He always has really funny guests that are kind of useless and he makes fun of them during the show. Usually they are too delusional to know they’re being made fun of.
I’m really obsessed with The Real Housewives of Atlanta (well, all of the real housewives shows). I would love to have Kim, Nene, and Sheree on the show. I love Nene because she is loud and tells people like it is. Sheree is completely insane but harmless. Anything she says usually just cracks me up because she is so full of herself. Maybe I will have her read me a monologue since her “newfound passion” is acting.” Ha! I just want to see what they act like in real life. And of course, Kim would have to perform “Tardy for the Party!” Maybe they will get drunk and someone will pull off Kim’s wig!!!?? That would be one hell of a New Year.
Click here to see the Watch What Happens Live official site, which includes a video of “Tardy for the Party.”
BIO: Ralph Ippolito was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and began his dance training at the age of seven. In 1998, Mr. Ippolito began studying at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet. While a student, Mr. Ippolito performed with NYCB in Peter Martins’ Swan Lake and Christopher Wheeldon’s Scènes de Ballet. In October 2005, Mr. Ippolito became an apprentice with NYCB, and the following October he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet.