Established: Ashley WheaterEmerging: Alberto VelazquezLike many professional dancers, Alberto Velazquez expressed an interest in ballet at an early age. But this Cuban native had one distinct advantage over his fellow 9-year-olds: His mother was a ballet instructor. After studying at prestigious schools in Cuba, Mexico and the United States, Velazquez joined the American Ballet Theatre II company in New York, where he danced for two years. In 2011, he was invited to audition for the Joffrey Ballet, where he made an immediate impression on Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. “I could see that Alberto had a huge talent, not only as an individual dancer, but as a partner, which is something really hard to have instinctively,” says Wheater. “You can train people to be good partners, but I think you either have a sensibility for it or not.” And Wheater would know, being a former dancer whose career took him around the world and gave him the chance to work with some of the biggest names in the biz, including the legendary Rudolph Nureyev. At 23 years old, Velazquez seems poised for a similar path. He’s appeared in numerous productions during his first two years at the Joffrey, including Infra and Don Quixote; will dance the lead in this month’s The Nutcracker; and is learning the title role for the upcoming Romeo and Juliet. “My dream is to do as many classical principal roles as I can, but I like contemporary dance too,” says Velazquez. “I’d like to do a little bit of everything.” And we can’t wait to see it.
Receive special offer alerts and updates right to your phone!Text joffrey to 366948 to opt into Joffrey Mobile Alerts
© Joffrey Ballet. All rights reserved.