This story originally appeared in the October/November 2014 issue of Pointe.
It's a beautiful day in a picturesque village, and Giselle and Albrecht are sharing a milkshake at the town diner. When he ignores a phone call from his girlfriend, Bathilde, she storms in and—wait, what?
That quirky take is the creation of Colorado Ballet corps member Sean Omandam, who reinvented Giselle in his debut promotional video for the company in fall 2013. “I just wanted to give myself a little project last season," says the 28-year-old, who has made videos for fun with his friends for a while. That “little project" went viral, logging over 14,000 YouTube hits, generating a 45 percent increase in the company's website traffic and launching Omandam's parallel career as a filmmaker.
Sean Omandam as the Jester in "Cinderella"David Andrews, Courtesy Colorado Ballet
From Cinderella's stepsisters camping it up in a Denver shoe store to a “Gangnam Style" Puss-in-Boots, Omandam's videos combine his love of ballet with a vivid imagination. They've become favorites among seasoned dancers and ballet newbies, but were a tough sell at first. When Omandam pitched Giselle to artistic director Gil Boggs and CB marketing staff, “I said, 'I want to film Giselle in a diner taking selfies.' They were like, 'Okay, sure.' " But they're all believers now: “Sean's videos have been a huge help in reaching a younger audience," Boggs says.
Omandam is adjusting to all the attention. A self-described shy kid who grew up in Fresno, California, he got into dance because his parents thought it would help bring him out of his shell. But he fell in love with it and joined the CB Studio Company after graduating from the Harid Conservatory in 2004. A year later he was promoted to the main company, where classical roles showcase his clean technique, and contemporary works highlight his athleticism and musicality.
With Boggs' support, Omandam has produced videos for every CB production since Giselle. He has complete artistic freedom but still needs to get used to directing his peers, including fellow corps members Francisco Estevez, as cameraman, and Tracy Jones (a Pointe 2013 “Star of the Corps"), as production manager. “Working with the corps is not as stressful. But," he admits, “when I'm making a video with a principal dancer, I'm like, 'Oh, god.' "
Omandam (center) with Rylan Schwab and Gregory DeSantis in "The Faraway"Terry Shapiro, Courtesy Colorado Ballet
Omandam hopes his unique mix of talents will lead to a career in performing-arts marketing. But for now he'll keep dancing and dreaming up viral videos. CB's current season includes Dracula, Peter and the Wolf and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and he can hardly wait to get started—on rehearsals and on film production. “My mind has been running since they announced it!"
Guilty pleasure: K-Pop (Korean pop music)—check out his video of “Angry Boo" online.
Secret stash: “After filming, I sometimes forget to return costumes back to the wardrobe department."
Favorite role: Puck in Christopher Wheeldon's A Midsummer Night's Dream. “It fits my personality—sly, mischievous and energetic."
Dream role: Anything made on him by Trey McIntyre.