Photo by Katsuyoshi Tanaka via ABT.

A Prince of Artistry: Herman Cornejo

What's it like to dance in a company like American Ballet Theatre that has so many excellent men?

Having stars around you is a good thing. It creates an energy that drives you to improve.

What's different for you when you dance a ballet without a plot?

It's a more physical experience. In a certain way it is more difficult because it requires complete physical control. With story ballets, there is a lot of interpretation—which is what I like most.

What was it like to work with Alexei Ratmansky on Seven Sonatas for ABT?

He is a gem—extremely nice, but he needs to see the movement exactly the way it is in his mind. It was hard, but the result was really good.

You made your debut as Siegfried in Swan Lake with the Corella Ballet in February. What was that like?

Dancing the classical roles is my dream. Since the creation of Corella Ballet, I've been able to dance two ballets I haven't yet performed with ABT, La Bayadère and Swan Lake.

How was partnering Natalia Osipova in ABT's La Sylphide last year?

Incredible. She's amazing, and her jump was unbelievable. I was saying to myself, “Oh my God, what do I do now?"

Have you ever seen a ballerina with a jump like that?

Only my sister Erica Cornejo and Osipova.

Have you ever danced with your wife, Carmen Corella?

Yes. We decided we just had to dance something together! An Argentine choreographer, Margarita Fernández, made a piece for us set to Mozart, Amadúo.

Do you have any rituals before a performance?

I try to do everything just as if it were a regular day. Class, rehearsal, and if I need to walk 10 blocks to go somewhere, that's fine. I like to stay pretty calm.

What music do you like to listen to when you're not working?

I love Philip Glass. I listen to his music a lot, when I'm trying to fall asleep or in the dressing room. But sometimes some Michael Jackson slips in there too!

What is your hidden talent?

I draw—I love architecture and design. I've always designed the places where I live, and my wife does the interior decoration.

Has your height affected your career?

It's always been on the table. Argen­tine dancers, and Latin American dancers in general, are on the small side. I think what matters are proportions. It's been hard sometimes to change the way of thinking of com­pany directors or coaches. Despite the fact that I'm small, my movements can be big, slow. That's why I think La Bayadère is one of my favorite ballets—because the movement is adagio. People always see me as a fast mover, and I enjoy it, but I feel much bigger than that.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

"My Plate Is Full": Sofiane Sylve on Her New Leadership Roles at Ballet San Antonio and Dresden Semperoper

Sofiane Sylve had huge plans for 2020: Departing her post as a principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, she embarked on a multifaceted, bicontinental career as ballet master and principal dancer at Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and artistic advisor and school director at Ballet San Antonio—and then COVID-19 hit, sidelining performances and administrative plans at both companies. But ballet dancers are nothing if not resilient. In her new leadership roles, Sylve is determined to help shepherd ballet through this challenging time—and transform it for the better. Pointe caught up with her by phone while she was in Dresden.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks