This is first spotlight in our series focusing on the dancers of Fort Wayne Ballet.
Did you know that Fort Wayne Ballet attracts professional dancers from around the world? Meet Ernesto M. Lea Place from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a company member with Fort Wayne Ballet and faculty member at the Auer Academy of Fort Wayne Ballet. After hearing positive things about Fort Wayne Ballet from a friend, who was performing with the company, Lea Place decided that it was the right fit for him. He has been in Fort Wayne for about a year.
Living Fort Wayne contacted Lea Place to get a feel for what moves him. Selected questions are below.
What are the most challenging aspects of performing ballet professionally?
There are a lot of sacrifices and endless amounts of work. This profession asks a lot from you so if you are not willing to fulfill expectations, you won’t be able to do it. I love performing, being on stage, and communicating/connecting with the audiences. But in order to have that joy and comfort while performing and on stage, you have to accomplish the physical aspect [of ballet].
What are some of your hopes for the future?
I hope I will keep growing as an artist and as a person. I do feel very grateful to be able to do what I love for a living. In the near future, I would like to attend a university. I am interested in psychology as my major. I was always really good at school, and I hope it’ll continue to be that way. I really enjoy working with children, and we do a lot here at the Academy of Fort Wayne Ballet.
What artistic performance have you been the most proud of in your career as a dancer?
As a child I did a lot of acting and theatre. It wasn’t until later in life that I entered the dance world. With some roles, you [have] more character development than others. Having the opportunity to play Romeo in Romeo & Juliet was probably the most fun I had on stage. There was such a high demand, as an actor, a technician, and an artist that I felt nervous about doing a good job. In the end, I believe I did the best I could do at the time, and, who knows, I might have a chance to [do it again] and see how it comes out then!
What will you be doing to prepare for Fort Wayne Ballet’s At the Edge performance on September 26 and 28?
I am currently resting. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot sacrifices and injuries we have to overcome. I fractured both of my shins a few years ago. However, the healing never felt quite settled. After not having a break for over two years, I finally had the chance to take eight to ten weeks off dance. I am feeling better! I probably will be doing some recovery work the first two weeks to gain some of my strength back, and when preparing for the show, I will probably be attending swimming quite often. One of our pieces that’s very high energy will require a great amount of stamina in order for it to be delivered properly. There’s a lot of work to do, and I can’t wait to get started!
What do you like best about Fort Wayne and the arts community in the area?
I like the city of Fort Wayne’s effort to introduce and constantly integrate more art into the city life. [In] bigger companies in bigger cities, the appreciation and hunger for the arts is already there. I enjoy being part of this bigger project where I feel ultimately we can have an impact in the community and have everyone learn more about not only ballet and the arts in general.
For more information about Fort Wayne Ballet and the At the Edge fall performances, please visit the Fort Wayne Ballet’s website.
Edited by Tim Zink
Photos courtesy of Ernesto Lea Place. Banner Photo by Rob Borel