Sean Omandam: The Colorado Ballet Dancer Creates Off-The-Wall Promotional Videos for the Company

Francisco Estevez Photography, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

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!"

Fun Facts

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.

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

Keep reading...
Ballet Stars
Beckanne Sisk in the studio. Quinn Wharton.

Ballet West principal dancer Beckanne Sisk may not subscribe to a specific style, but there are a few key elements to her off-duty look no matter what the season. "Comfort is number one for me," she says. "I also like to buy things that are a little higher quality, because they last longer." Other than that, she says, it's really anything goes. "I like to change up my style all the time."

Keep reading...
News
Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman. Photo by André Rival, Courtesy Staatsballett Berlin

Staatsballett Berlin announced today that artistic directors Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman intend to step down at the end of 2020, despite having only held the posts since 2019 and summer 2018, respectively.

Keep reading...