By Sara Macho Hill
In just four years, Carlos Lopez, former American Ballet Theatre soloist and ABT certified teacher, went from first-time ballet student to professional ballet dancer with Madrid’s Victor Ullate Ballet. Lopez, who will be visiting us April 27 to teach a special Guys Dance Too class and Pas de Deux Workshop, shared his story with us.
“I think when you’re starting your career, many teens struggle with wanting to be perfect and wanting to do this many turns, or this many jumps, but you eventually reach a time in your life as a dancer where it’s more about enjoying the moment,” Lopez says. “As you mature and discover who you are as a person, that’s the moment you get better at being a dancer. It’s about finding that balance.”
Students signed up for Lopez’s Guys Dance Too class will learn basic technique, including timing, proper form and the challenge of “clean” dancing. The Pas de Deux Workshop will stress the importance of making movements easier for your female partner.
“For pirouettes, for example, your left hand maintains her balance, and with your right hand you give more turns, and it also works as a brake to stop the turns”, Lopez explains. “Partnering can be difficult and challenging for a man because it isn’t all about you, it’s about her balance, distance and connection to the movement. It always has to be about making the dancing easier for her.”
As a young student in Madrid at the Victor Ullate School, Lopez attended ballet class six hours a day – three hours before school and three hours after school. He started out in gymnastics at age 11. His teacher told his mother that he was talented, but he did not feel the same connection as when he saw his first ballet class with the music.
Here’s what he had to say about enrolling in your first class:
“Tell people you are close to that you are interested. You must express what you feel and share it with people who will be supportive, whether it’s a parent or a teacher. Go out and see ballet as well. It’s very visual at first. I have no artists in my family, but I knew as soon as I saw ballet, I knew I wanted to do that. Go to a studio and try it.”
Lopez starting teaching ballet last September with the ABT Studio Company. One of his favorite things about it is seeing the changes in his students.
“It’s so exciting to see the results in them and to see them applying what you taught them. That’s the most rewarding aspect of it to me,” he says.
As for his first-time trip to Cleveland, Lopez says he’s excited to meet people who are so involved in supporting ballet. He’s also excited to see our talent and make more dancers.
The thing that really stuck with this Ballet in Cleveland blogger was Lopez’s mention of passion in your life.
“The best advice I ever received was to follow your dream. Whatever you want to do, no matter what people say, keep following your dream. I’ve been through rough times, but you keep working, you keep focusing and follow your passion. Our lives are not that very long, so we must do the things that we enjoy and that we are passionate about. And if we must do something that we don’t enjoy, use it as a tool to do something related to your passion and it will serve you well. It is not about being perfect, it is about doing what you like.”
Well spoken, and true without a shadow of a doubt. We’re honored to bring Carlos Lopez to Cleveland so for those of us whose passion is ballet… that we may thrive.
Not registered for Carlos Lopez’s upcoming master classes presented by Ballet in Cleveland? Register here!
Carlos Lopez was interviewed for Ballet in Cleveland by Sara Macho Hill. Some of Sara’s best memories are of her days as a ballet student. She is absolutely thrilled to be back on Euclid Avenue supporting Ballet in Cleveland by assisting with weekly email communications, social media and ballet-themed events.