Q&A with BalletMet Veteran Jimmy Orrante

Kristen Schmidt
BalletMet choreographer and veteran dancer Jimmy Orrante

This is your last season. Do you have mixed feelings about that? No. No, I don't.

You're ready? Yeah.

How did you know? My body tells me I'm ready.

You once told a reporter dancing hurts your body and choreography hurts your mind. You get fatigued in a different way, it's true. When you're dancing, you're in charge of your role. When you're creating a work, you're in charge of everybody onstage.

Do you plan to teach in retirement? I do teach and I can teach, but I prefer not to. I like creating rather than teaching. Once in a while, I sub for my wife, and I have a great time with the younger kids in the studio. I'm not their normal teacher, so I get to have fun with them and make up silly stuff.

What will ballet look like when those kids grow up? All those TV shows that have dance bring an awareness that wasn't there before. Being a dancer has become kind of a cool thing. People are realizing how athletic it is; the life span of a dancer is the same as an athlete. The downside is sometimes the artistry lacks; we have to maintain that whoever's teaching is instilling the artistry and not just the movement.

Can you watch dance for fun? I appreciate how much effort it takes to get to the stage. The majority of what we do happens in the studio, so when we get to the stage, that's our time to share with the audience. We're sharing our craft, our work, our dedication, our sweat, our injuries. That's the only chance we get-a run of a few shows onstage.