Ballet Dancer Raphael Spyker: From Brazil to the Big Apple

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WA_RaphaelSpyker_MAINInterview with American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet member Raphael Spyker.

Here at Discount Dance corporate we are pretty used to ridiculously talented dancers gracing our hallways on photo shoot days. The difference on this day, was that it was a male dancer present! Dance Life was fortunate enough to sit down with ballet dancer Raphael Spyker and ask him a few questions about his career in the wonderful world of ballet. Here’s what he had to say!

DL: Where are you from?

RS: Brazil – Rio de Janeiro

DL: When did you start dancing, and what style did you start with?

RS: I started at the age of 12 in the Russian style – Vaganova.

DL: How did you get involved with ABT?

RS: In 2012 I came to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school  at ABT and made it through level 7. Then, after a year in the studio company it came time for them to select apprentices. We started with 14 dancers, ranging in age from 16 – 20 years old. They chose 4 girls and 2 boys to join the company as an apprentice, and I was chosen. I came in December to do the Nutcracker, and by February they offered me a core contract.

DL: What made you decide to take ballet seriously and make it a career?

RS: I actually didn’t take it very seriously until I was 17. That next year, I made it into the finals of a ballet competition and decided that I am good at this, and it is something I should put more effort into.

DL: What advice do you have for young dancers – specifically male dancers?

RS: Dance as much as you can, and take personal responsibility for improving your technique. Also take it seriously earlier than I did. It’s easier for a younger body to learn, and being disciplined will help improve you as a person.

DL: What is your favorite role?

RS: Great Galloping Gottschalk pas de deux.

DL: What is your long term goal in the company?

RS: I would [obviously] like to be a principal some day.

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