Ballet Idaho would like to introduce our new Trainee Program Director, David Arce! David was born in San Diego and enjoyed a prominent career as a professional dancer with San Francisco Ballet for 13 seasons. After retiring from the stage in 2010, he became Artistic Director of Julene Regional Youth Ballet for ten seasons and then Assistant Artistic Director of Mid-Columbia Ballet. David has built a career as an instructor, choreographer, and director, and Ballet Idaho is beyond honored to have him. Read on below for a Q & A!
CM: David, welcome to Ballet Idaho! The Trainee Program at Ballet Idaho is a catalyst for dancers seeking a professional career. What attracted you to this program?
DA: I was fortunate to visit Boise last season to watch a weekend of Ballet Idaho performances. After viewing Anthology by the company and the Trainee Showcase I was instantly blown away by the level of artistry, technique, and production value of all involved. I knew I would work with Ballet Idaho at some point in the future and was pleasantly surprised when Garrett offered me the position of Director of the Trainee Program.
CM: What is a typical week like in the Trainee Program world?
DA: A typical week in the Trainee World is a whirlwind of excitement, full immersion in new creations, and of course a lot of fun! Since we have started a little over a month ago each week has been filled with different focuses that have enriched the trainees professionally and have tested many aspects of their growth as dancers and artists. From learning new and existing reps from myself and guest choreographers, to working directly with the company preparing Balanchine's Divertimento #15, and experiencing numerous educational seminars, and even several "pop -up" performances throughout the greater Boise area, we've been busy. And we haven't even started The Nutcracker yet!
CM: How do you like Boise and what do you think of the arts scene here?
DA: I have enjoyed getting to know Boise a little while I have been here the past month. Watching the weather quickly turn and the leaves follow, I consider myself lucky to be in such a beautiful city. The arts community is robust! From the opening weekend of the Boise Phil, to the Ballet Idaho 50th Anniversary Ball at Chateau des Fleurs, to the Idaho Dance Theater, I have made my rounds getting familiar with the local movers and shakers.
CM: You spent a large portion of your career onstage. How does being the man behind the curtain compare to that?
DA: After I retired from dancing I knew that I wanted to stay in the business I have known since I was seven years old. While I was still dancing I began the long journey of becoming a teacher of ballet and creating new choreography for dancers. I have enjoyed watching young artists grow under my tutelage and go on to many prestigious university programs and professional companies. I am particularly proud of Michael Driskill whom I get to continue to watch grow daily as he is now an apprentice with Ballet Idaho. It's a full-circle moment for me and I am so blessed!
CM: What, if anything, has surprised you about the Trainee Program?
DA: The level of the trainees has surprised me. They have given their all from day one as our schedule has been jam-packed with activities for them. They have shown extreme professionalism and the ability to switch gears with every new ballet/instructor/discipline of dance/and choreographer that has been scheduled so far.
CM: What advice would you give to a younger David Arce who was just starting his dance career?
DA: Our guest choreographer Ilana Goldman and I had this conversation last week and we came to the same sentiment. When you are a young dancer you can get caught up on what the performance will look like after you have danced it. What things you could have done better or wished you had tried. If you are dancing performances with this in the back in your mind you will not be able to be completely free to express yourself fully. And that is crucial for a dancer.