Reverence: Prince Charming

Houston Ballet principal Connor Walsh still has a boyish side.
Published in the June/July 2013 issue.

High, wide and handsome: Walsh in Balanchine’s "Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux." Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Do you get nervous before performing?
Not extremely, but when I do, I don’t mind. Sometimes with nerves comes an extra level of focus.

What’s on your iPod?
Right now I’m listening to alt-J; First Aid Kit; Adams: Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine by San Francisco Symphony; Chopin: The Complete Preludes played by Vanessa Perez; and Dirty Projectors.

Who is your toughest critic?
My most honest critic is still my teacher from the school, Claudio Muñoz. I can always trust that he will tell me if I didn’t get a character quite right or if anything is falling below par.

How are you challenging yourself in class these days?
Recently I’ve been noticing how many dancers don’t use their necks and heads. That’s partly because of our habit of looking in the mirror, but also as a dancer you often think, “I need to look at the audience,” so you stare straight ahead. But in fact, looking at them directly is less important than completing the position you’re in or acting naturally onstage.

What accomplishment makes you most proud?
Becoming one of Houston’s youngest ever principals is something that I’m extremely proud of and still very motivated by.

Your foodie habits are well known. Anything you won’t touch?

Olives. I haven’t given up on trying them, but I have yet to enjoy them.

Are you still a soccer freak?
Absolutely. It hasn’t been a great year for my beloved Chelsea Football Club, but I don’t miss a game.

What has been the toughest role of your career so far?

I’ve always found that comedy is more challenging than drama. I was very nervous about playing Mercutio because he’s so full of humor and complexity, but by the end of the run it had become one of my favorite roles.

What is your secret talent?

If I have one, it’s a secret to me, too.