Cupcakes & Conversation with Dylan Gutierrez, Joffrey Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
When I wake up in the morning I have got to have some coffee so that gets me awake, but I think what motivates me is the thought that no matter what ballet I’m doing -whether I like it or not – it can help me progress. There is something there to further my artistry, technique, stamina, or quality of movement; sometimes you just have to find it.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I would love to dance the Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake, but one of my friends told me once that they think I would be a good as the “Lover” in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden. It sounds like such a beautiful ballet and role to dance and I think I would love trying to develop me as the “Lover”. There is no one in particular that I would like to dance with; of course you’d always like to have someone you have chemistry with but in the ballet world you don’t get a choice sometimes so you have to make it work and I’m fine with that.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
I would love to go back to Covent Garden in London ! I trained at the Royal Ballet Upper School and our final performance in that Royal Opera House was one of my most memorable and favourite performances. I would love to go back in front of a crowd and on a beautiful stage like that again.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I wake up at around 8 : 30 and make coffee and usually turn on VH1 Jumpstart because they play more mellow music for the morning. I check my facebook, email, and the CNN website (a new addition), and then I head to work. At the moment I’m rehearsing the second pas de deux from Gerald Arpino’s Reflections and that is a beautiful ballet, and then usually I’ll have lunch and then two more rehearsals – usually James Kudelka’s world premiere for an hour and then Jessica Lang’s world premiere for two hours. Then usually I will go out for a drink or two with the “Gents” who are my friends and who work with me at the ballet company – we like to have fun and blow off steam.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I usually go and get something to eat so I have the energy, then I’ll get some Physical Therapy done on my knee because I struggle with Patella Tendonitis. Then I will head to my dressing room and listen to some music or mess around with the guys to keep myself relaxed, then at the half hour call I will put my make up on, get dressed, and head to the stage!
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?
I am, believe it or not, pretty excited for The Nutcracker because I think this year I’m going to have more opportunities to dance bigger parts, which is really exciting. As far as the regular season I am really excited to dance (if I’m chosen for it) Yuri Possokhov’s new ballet that he is coming to set. I’m interested in what he’ll do for The Joffrey. Also I am very excited for Jerome Robbins The Concert and Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
I don’t know really, I mean that’s kind of an expansive question, because I’m not sure “famous people” would be the most interesting to have for dinner. I usually go for dinner with my friends and a dinner with them is always conversation about furthering the art form and different opinions on things going on in the world. I would rather have a stimulating conversation with them than have six famous people around.
What would surprise people about you ?
I am very much “what you see is what you get” but I think people would be surprised to know that I am of Mexican and New Zealand descent. My father is from Districto Federal in Mexico and my mother is from Auckland, New Zealand.
Who inspired you to dance ?
My Mother and Father inspired me to dance. My mom was a dancer and is my ballet teacher – she trained me since I was little. There is one dancer who inspired me to dance above all other dancers I admire, and she is Susan Jaffe. She gave a talk at the first summer program I ever went to and I was 10 years old and had a melt down because so many things she said were things that I felt about myself, and it was amazing. Now, every time I see her and when we talk she always brings up the time when I went up to her crying and told her she inspired me !
What is your best piece of advice ?
I think it would be to know your ability and know your worth and what you are capable of as a dancer, and to always try and bring integrity to the things you dance. Try to do them the way they were choreographed or in the style they were choreographed . If your peers or coaches are around saying “no that’s not how it was originally done and the choreographer would have wanted it this way,” then you take that in, apply it, and then put your own personality and self into it without losing the style or steps.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I think the pas de deux in Natalie Weir’s Unwritten tested me the most because it was all about stamina. I danced the first four sections of that ballet and all of it was lifting – the first group section, a throw and lift with a boy, the pas de deux, and then the second group section. I was so tired but I made it through every time and my partner and I held it down.
A phrase I use far too often is …
Dude what’s up?
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
No-one, but I would play someone else in a film about them.
What is your favourite quote?
“When the violinist is done playing his violin, he puts it away“.
It’s fun to joke around with friends and do random funny dance steps outside of the workplace sometimes, but most of the time it’s good to not be trying make people see that you are a ballet dancer.
What’s on your iPod ?
A lot of Rap/Hip Hop, Electronic, and alternative rock. At the moment I am about to play Busy P.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I think I’m a good partner because when I’m partnering a girl I’m not worrying about myself at all. If my foot points with hers fine, but I’m more worried about if she looks good, if she’s on her leg, does SHE feel comfortable; I’m all about her. The best review I have ever gotten as a partner is when they didn’t mention me. They said that my partner winded around Dylan Gutierrez like a length of silk but that was about it, pas de deux is a dance of two but she is the most important and should be the one that is noticed. Everything the man does should be seamless.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
It’s not really a secret but I have played drums since I was 10 and my teacher has told me several times that if dancing didn’t work out I could have been a musician.
Describe yourself in just three words.
Fun, Happy, and Loving.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
I’d like to be doing everything I’ve been doing…. better than I usually do.