Roberto Bolle’s no longer just a superstar dancer. (Or a jaw-dropping model, for that matter.) This fall, he'll try out his hand as artistic director, leading a special one-night event, Roberto Bolle and Friends Gala. The program, to be held at New York City Center on September 17, is part of the celebration 2013–The Year in Italian Culture, and will feature performances from Dresden Semperoper’s Jiří Bubeníček and Stuttgart’s Alicia Amatriain and Jason Reilly—as well as Bolle, of course. The Italian ballet icon answered a few of Pointe's questions about this latest twist in his career.
What inspired this program?
Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented international dancers from the best companies. Naturally, I wanted to bring such great energy together in a single show. They are my colleagues onstage as well as my friends in real life.
What does it mean to you to be an Italian dancer who's become an international star?
It’s a honor and a privilege, but also a responsibility. Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, rich with the most extraordinary cultural and artistic tradition. So, you know, it’s not easy to be good enough, to excel. I try my best, every day. Ballet is not just a job, but my whole life and I do it with love, passion and fun!
Is there anything that you’d say is particularly “Italian” about your artistry?
I was deeply influenced by Italian art and by the Italian ballet school—I studied and had my debut at La Scala Theatre in Milan. Without a doubt, the atmosphere of the Italian cities where I spent most of my life played a very strong role in my artistic “education.” Italians have a strong love for the beautiful in any form, from fine arts to architecture, from fashion to design and films. I make no exception at all!
What’s been the highlight of your career?
Dancing in Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. It was, I think, the most unreal experience I’ve had.
What advice would you offer students who dream of a career like yours?
Pursue your dream, know your limits, push them as much as you reasonably can, work harder than hard. Live your passion—dance is not a job.