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


Getty Images

How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Ballet companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet all pledged that #BalletRelevesBlackLives, an online campaign to show solidarity with the Black community. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks