Today on “10 Questions With…” we have Maximo Califano from Ballet San Jose…
1. How did you become involved with dance?
When I was a kid I was a gymnastic athlete. I was part of a renowned gymnastic team and I used to compete in tournaments. One summer, our instructor was absent for a couple of months and I had to stay home without any physical activity. For that reason, my mother decided to enroll me in the Superior Institute of Arts at the Colon Theater, one the most important educational centers and classical theaters in the world.
At the Institute, I learned classic ballet and many other disciplines related to dance. After several years of intense studies, I graduated as a professional dancer and I was chosen to join the ballet company. During my years at the Colon Theater, I was involved in major and international ballet and opera productions and I had the chance to learn and to share the stage with the most important artists in the world.
2. What are you currently doing in the field?
I am currently a principal dancer with Ballet San Jose. After working in many important ballet companies around the globe, I chose to work with Ballet San Jose due to its diverse repertoire, its high artistic level and its international troupe. Our ballet productions are first-class and highly entertaining. Here, in the heart of the Silicon Valley, I feel at home and I am happy entertaining our beloved Bay Area audience.
3. Would you share a special moment from your career with readers?
In 2008, the Company performed an 8-city tour of China. It was called the “Goodwill Tour from Silicon Valley”, and it represented the first international tour of the Company since its move from Cleveland in 2001. For 5-weeks, I performed all the principal roles in mayor ballets and in important Chinese theaters. I was amazed by their rich culture, beautiful cities, modern theaters and hospitality.
4. What is the best advice you have ever received from a teacher or mentor regarding dance?
The best advice I received by a dance teacher was a saying. He told me “make it happen”. He was referring to a dance step that I was having difficulties performing and his advice was to ensure that I had the will and determination to make that step happen no matter how.
5. What has been your greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge in my career was jealousy and dealing with the lack of education and culture of some people. I highly respect and appreciate knowledge and experience.
6. Do you have any advice for dancers who want to go on to a professional career?
The dancer’s career is very short and it is important to pursue it from an early age. My advice for future dancers is that they should focus on dance 100% and they should obtain the best dance education available. I recommend a ballet school that has its own professional company like Ballet San Jose School because students have a chance to participate in professional ballet productions and see how the company dancers work.
7. Do you have a special routine that you go through prior to a performance?
My routine before a show consists of a quick warm- up, an hour make-up, and some warm tea with a protein or an energy bar. I also check my partners’ tutus or costumes to see if they are properly closed so that my fingers don’t get cut while we are during pirouettes.
8. What are your favorite ballet movements to practice and why (turns, jumps, etc.)?
My favorite ballet movements are the lyric ones. I prefer the dramatic and artistic side of dancing where the language of movement is used to express feelings, thoughts or ideas.
9. What do you enjoy most about your life in dance?
Dance keeps me fit, happy and young. I like dancing because every time I am on stage, I portray a different character. It is always changing and challenging; dancing never bores me.
10. What is next for you?
Next for me is a Ballet San Jose Nutcracker performance! I am running late!!! See you at the theater!
For those located in the area, Maximo’s Nutcracker schedule is:
Sat Dec 17 at 1:30 he is dancing Tsar Nicolas
Sat Dec 17 at 7:30, Tsar Nicolas
Tuesday Dec 20 at 7:30, Tsar Nicolas
Wed Dec 21 at 1:30 dancing the Mouse King
Thurs Dec 22 at 1:30, Mouse King
and Friday, Dec 23 at 11:00am he is dancing Herr Drosselmeyer.
BIO: Maximo Califano is a principal dancer in Ballet San Jose, serving the Bay Area audience. He graduated as a dancer from the prestigious Superior Institute of Art at the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires, Argentina and his career spans America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed for major national and international ballet companies and been featured in ballet magazines, newspapers, and on television shows.