Bradley Shelver's Future as a Solo Artist

My first solo tour in Italy (in November) was very exhausting, yet incredibly rewarding. I spent a total of three weeks there. Before the tour, I went to Amsterdam, where I had the opportunity to watch Jirí Kylián reconstruct one of his only evening-length works, called One of a Kind. In 2002, he had planned to teach me Blackbird, one of his solos, though at the time, neither of us had room in our schedules to get into the studio together. Instead, I learned it by watching a video. I was asked to perform this solo at a gala held in Teatro Comunale Francesco Cilea in Reggio Calabria in the south of Italy, though I couldn’t, because this time, I didn’t have time to rehearse it.

Instead, I chose to dance an 11-minute solo by Elisa Monte and David Brown, titled Run to the Rock, set to music by Nina Simone. The gala featured classical soloists like Giuseppe Picone of Italy, Joel Carreño and Viengsay Valdés of Cuba, Anna Tsygankova of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alicia Amatriain and Jason Reilly of the Stuttgart Ballet and Ivan Putrov of the Royal Ballet in London. I was the only representative of contemporary dance. The program consisted of works by Itzik Galili, William Forsythe, Marius Petipa and Agrippina Vaganova, so it was certainly a mixed bill. Our first press conference was just as eclectic, with reporters from across Europe. The performance was a tremendous success, and I appreciated the praise I received for being the only contemporary dancer.

Though many of the other performers had danced together before, this gala was my first time onstage with any of them. After years of being in the biz, it still amazes me that dancers, no matter where they are from or what language they speak, can connect and form a bond that feels like family even if it only lasts for the performance.

The next day, I traveled to Rome for my day off before flying to Naples to teach master classes at the Labart Conservatory and the Patty Schisa School. My classes were filled, sometimes with almost 70 dancers. Even though I had taught at the Labart Conservatory before, so students knew what to expect, I was still surprised at how many of them had heard of me. I must admit it was flattering when they surrounded me and asked for pictures and autographs. I have never before experienced such an overwhelming response. I’ve decided to start planning another tour for the summer of 2006.

Looking Ahead

The life of a dancer is truly an adventure. The solo artist’s world is filled with excitement and glamour, yet also requires dedication, sacrifice and overcoming stress and other obstacles, such as endless touring, muscle pains, physiological effects of injuries, trying to run your life from the road and balancing relationships with your friends and family whom you don’t get to see very often. I think the strength we have is our love for the adventure, the joy of bringing the language of dance to so many people, regardless of color, creed or political convictions. I would not trade my life in dance for anything. I feel that my happiness comes from the joy and fulfillment of my audiences—that is why I breathe; that is why I dance.

Latest Posts

Protocol like mandatory face masks, temperature checks, and careful class staging have become the norm at comps and conventions like NYCDA (Evolve Photo & Video, courtesy NYCDA)

4 Industry Leaders Walk Us Through the State of the Competition/ Convention World

After a year of tumult, virtual events and constantly moving targets, it's more than reasonable to wonder: What exactly is the state of the competition world?

For months, we didn't see our favorite friends and teachers unless it was through a screen—now, against all odds, programs are rising from the ashes to bring you meaningful training and performance opportunities both in person and online. We asked four prominent competition/convention directors to give you the inside scoop on what to expect from this season (and, yes, that includes Nationals).

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
What happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? (Getty Images/kf4851)

What to Do When Your Dance Teacher Says You're Not Pointe Ready

Since the day you pulled on your first leotard, you have no doubt been dreaming of the day you would attend your first pointe shoe fitting. Going on pointe is a rite of passage as a ballet dancer, and the result of years of hard work.

But what happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? It's totally understandable to be disappointed and frustrated if your teacher doesn't move you on pointe, but don't lose faith in yourself. "I've seen a lot of dancers go on pointe over the years," says Josephine Lee, professional pointe shoe fitter and founder of The Pointe Shop. "I don't think I have ever seen a dancer who was held back from pointework feel like they were behind in the long run."

Ideally, your teacher has laid out clear guidelines for what makes a dancer pointe-ready. But if they haven't, there are some milestones that ballet professionals are looking for to give the green light for your first pair of shoes. Factors like your age, technique level, range of motion and strength all come into play. And the good news is that if going on pointe is a goal for you, there are proactive ways that you can get there.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Because it seemed like time to revisit yet another Barbie classic (Getty Images/M-A-U)

55 Thoughts I Had Rewatching "Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses" as an Adult

I have a confession to make: I think I only saw this movie once during my childhood. By the time this film was released, I had already begun to outgrow my Barbie fandom.

But if TikTok is any indication, Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses is a fan favorite among Barbie movie connoisseurs. What could be better than one dancing princess Barbie? Twelve dancing princesses Barbies, of course!

Naturally, I have high hopes going into this movie. Here are my moment-by-moment reactions to what many consider to be the *absolute zenith* of Barbie ballet movies.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search