Photo by Corinne Nicholson
Julian Duque has only been studying ballet seriously for a year. A graceful and powerful dancer already, the 18-year-old has been accepted to the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where he will study intensely in order to pursue a career in dance. In this artist profile, the Buford resident, who has studied for the past year at Sugarloaf Performing Arts, talks to staff writer Deanna Allen about his intense practice schedule and his aspirations as a dancer.
DA: How long have you been studying dance?
JD: I took it for fun in high school, that's how I got into it, but in high school I didn't really get any training or anything ... it was just for fun. Then that made me want to take more classes so that in March is when I started taking five or six hours of dance every day, like jazz and hip-hop. I didn't really start taking ballet until the summer when I came to (Sugarloaf Performing Arts), so intensely a year.
DA: What's it like spending five to six hours a day practicing?
JD: I love it. To me, sometimes it's not enough (laughs) simply because, I mean, yeah, I'm tired and I wake up sore and it hurts and all but it all pays off, especially when you're in class and you can see at you're more flexible and you have more control and you can jump higher and you can perform better.
DA: Are there any specific roles you would like to dance?
JD: There's lots of famous ballets, and I mean I'm sure as time goes on more works will be created, but I want to be Basilio from "Don Quixote." I want to be the slave in "Le Corsaire." I want to be the golden idol. It's from "La Bayadere." My goal is to be the best. I mean, there's a lot of great dancers and a lot I look up to and I don't mean to sound cocky, it's just my goal is to be the best.
DA: Who are some of the professional dancers that you do look up to?
JD: Ethan Stiefel. Mikhail Baryshnikov. Carlos Acosta.
DA: What do you admire most in them?
JD: They all have great abilities, like some can jump and float in the air more than others. Some can turn more than others. Some of them have more of a performance quality, more artistry, while others have more just power in their dancing.
DA: What would you say are your strengths?
JD: I'm dramatic, passionate. I'm passionate about what I do and even though I don't have the ability yet to turn for days or float in the air, people can see that I have a passion for what I do.
DA: When do you leave for Pennsylvania?
JD: I'm going there for the summer for an intensive. It starts June 26. I'm staying with the president of the board, he gave me a full scholarship and they offered their home to me. Then I come back for a month and then I leave in September to go for two years. A lot of great dancers started there and are still there.