The Kennedy Center

Emanuel Abruzzo


Emanuel Abruzzo (Corps de Ballet), born and raised in Argentina, has worked with Julio Bocca's Ballet Sub 16, Les Ballets Grandiva, Baardar Danseteater, La Rayuela, WALKERDANCE, and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Emanuel has been on faculty at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and Steps on Broadway. Recently, Emanuel was in the off-broadway show HEAT WAVE: The Jack Cole Project and part of the short entitled Stairway to Heaven by the Lombard Twins. Emanuel joined The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2012.

A Conversation with Emanuel Abruzzo

What is your favorite role to dance and why?

I have a hard time choosing one example to point out, but I do enjoy strong character roles. The last time I performed with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, I had the pleasure to dance the solo variation from Agon and it was so much fun. The music, the steps, and the feeling of dancing to Stravinsky played live by the orchestra and the conductor was magical.

What do you like to do when you are not dancing?

I am a "stay-home" kind of guy, I might go out for a movie or to dine at a restaurant, but I enjoy being at home. I spent so much time traveling on tour for the past 10 years, it is nice to just pop a bottle of Malbec (red wine), watch a movie, or just have friends over and talk each other's ears off.

How do you prepare yourself for the physical challenges of rehearsing, performing, and touring?

Besides taking ballet class, I also take all kind of classes to help my body and my brain stay active and ready for whatever challenge might come. On top of that I work out at the gym because ladies don't lift themselves up on stage.

What is it like to work with Ms. Farrell? Any fun and memorable stories or anecdotes about working with her?

Honestly, it is beyond a pleasure to work with Ms. Farrell. She is an artist with such knowledge and generosity that it inspires the dancers that work with her to blindly put ourselves in her hands to achieve her vision. She is one of those idols you meet and continue to respect and idolize after you've met them, which is something that doesn't always happen. I feel like I have become a little bit more of an artist by learning from her and her experiences.

What music do you like to listen to when you warm-up?

Music depends on the day, it might be a brand new playlist from the top charts or it could be a bunch of jazz music, or tango. After all I am a young, jazzy Argentinian.

What do you think is the most common myth about being a ballet dancer? What do you wish people knew about what it's really like to be a ballet dancer?

Not to generalize, but most dancers eat a lot. We spend around 8 hours a day jumping and turning and lifting, so you have to be well fed to do all of that and not faint half way through. I personally eat something every hour due to my hypoglycemia, which is when I don't have enough sugar in my body. This can affect my mood greatly. A healthy diet and a few burgers on the side are a must for me to dance.

Do you feel an affinity for any particular choreographer?

I wish I could say I do, but I do enjoy dancing ballet as much as contemporary pieces or jazz (old school jazz, like Jack Cole's choreography). I enjoy versatility so the more choreographers with different backgrounds the more challenging and exciting it is to continue working as a dancer.

What is the biggest reward in your career?

Thanks to my career in dance, I have traveled and performed in 28 countries. That's an amazing reward, but to me the biggest reward is to have made a career of my childhood hobby. My dreams and professional goals continue to become my reality.
Emanuel Abruzzo