Many thanks to Roger Lee who interviewed Richard Villaverde from BalletX for us here…enjoy!
- How did you become involved with dance?
I first got involved in dance because of my older brother. He was always interested in dance but didn’t want to start studying it alone. My brother actually signed me up without even telling me! I didn’t really have much of a choice when he showed up at our house with dance belts and tights.
- What are you currently doing in the dance field?
I’m currently in a contemporary ballet company in Philadelphia called BalletX. I am focusing on the company and couldn’t be happier!
- How did college prepare you for your professional dance career?
I had many opportunities, while a student at University of the Arts, that helped me see what working in a company would be like. College did more than prepare me for a job in this profession. It was more than essential for me to invest 4 years in myself and take that time to figure out who I am and what I want to do.
- What was the proudest moment of your career (to date)?
I would have to say that the proudest moment of my career is happening right at this very moment. Working in a company like BalletX allows me to connect with so many different choreographers. It also opens my mind and body to new experiences. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
- What has been the hardest or most challenging aspect of your career?
The most challenging moment of my career happened not too long ago. I learned that separating your personal life from your life in the studio and on stage is really hard. But, I’ve learned it’s important to try and use those experiences to make your dancing richer and full of true emotion.
- What is the best advice that you have received from a dance mentor or teacher?
The best advice I received is to be patient. As a young dancer you’re hungry to work and do a lot. However, being young also means you’re inexperienced to a certain degree. Staying calm and waiting until the time is right is essential. Everything will happen when it’s meant to.
- What advice would you give someone who is just starting a professional dance performance career?
It is good to observe and learn from your peers who have been dancing for years.
- How do you maintain a healthy work life balance?
It’s actually very easy. Making friends outside of dance is really important because you learn to become open to new and different things. It also helps you remember that before being a dancer and artist, you’re a human.
- Who are your dance inspirations and why?
I have a lot of dance inspirations for many, many different reasons. However, my biggest inspiration is my brother. Although he didn’t get the chance to continue dancing professionally like I have–but I think it’s a good thing! It has made his dancing natural and all his movement is pure and really comes from within. That’s something that’s a little harder for me at times because ballet is so structured. It’s hard to break that barrier.
- What is next for you and your career?
I’m not exactly sure what’s next for my career. I’m really happy and I feel like I’m learning and growing still here with BalletX. When I am ready my life will guide me to the next place I need to be. I do dream of dancing for Nederlands Dans Theater one day. Until then I am willing to go where ever my life needs to take me!