From Classical to Contemporary: Ballet BC's Andrew Bartee


Andrew Bartee made a bold choice last year when he decided to leave Pacific Northwest Ballet to join Ballet BC, the dynamic Vancouver-based troupe. Now, he's preparing for their upcoming performances at Jacob's Pillow, June 24-28Pointe spoke with Bartee about his new company life for our bi-weekly newsletter. 

How was your first season with Ballet BC?
Incredible. I was looking for a huge push--physically, mentally, collaboratively--and I've found that here. Obviously, it's a much smaller group than at PNB, but we all push each other. And I adore artistic director Emily Molnar. She's a wonderful coach and is in the studio all the time with us.

Coming from PNB, how has your experience with classical ballet informed your approach at Ballet BC?
It's been a great thing to have, but also a challenge. A lot of what we do is more grounded, so I'm learning a new way to work in the studio. My body feels different now: I take much wider second positions, I try to really feel the floor and I always take class in socks!

What will you be dancing at Jacob's Pillow?
Workwithinwork by William Forsythe is very balletic, but also incorporates all the new things I'm learning. Then we're doing Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's Consagración, his Rite of Spring that deals with the idea of coming into yourself. The third piece is Cayetano Soto's Twenty Eight Thousand Waves. It has a very quiet, spiritual beginning, but later I get to break free, be myself and use everything I have.

What advice would you offer dancers seeking a similar transition to more contemporary ballet work?
When I was still at PNB, I found some drop-in classes. I took a lot of Gaga and extra modern classes. It helped me in my work at PNB but was also a window to experiment. At drop-in classes, there's really no pressure. I was going there to learn, and it helped initiate my move.
For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.
Photo by Michael Slobodian, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Lauren Veyette corrects a student during class. Ariel Rose, Courtesy Veyette Virtual Ballet School.

COVID-19 Has Made It Easier to Train Outside Your Studio—but Should You?

Of all the unprecedented effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the dance world, perhaps the most unthinkable a year ago was the forced pivot to online training. With many studios mandated to close, we've outfitted our homes with barres and marley and harnessed technology to create more learning opportunities than ever before. And now, as some studios reopen for in-person classes (either fully or in hybrid form) and others remain online, it's easier to supplement your school's offerings by adding virtual master classes—or even going to another school for in-studio time. But while being able to take class from anyone, anywhere, offers great opportunities, there are pitfalls to jumping from teacher to teacher. It's important to balance out the pros and cons of creating your own "COVID curriculum."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Daniil Simkin gives advice during his master class series. Courtesy Dance Masterclass.

In This Master Class Series, Stars Like Daniil Simkin Share Their Technique and Artistry Secrets

Have you ever wondered what Daniil Simkin thinks about when he whips off a series of effortless pirouettes? Or how Polina Semionova initiates her "swan arms" when she dances Odette/Odile? Both dancers are now part of a new streaming platform called Dance-Masterclass, which offers targeted lessons from the ballet world's biggest stars to dancers of all levels. Launched in February, the platform presents 10 to 12-plus gorgeously filmed lessons from a new master teacher each month, with options allowing for private feedback.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks