Former New York City Ballet principal Nilas Martins and former NYCB principal and American Ballet Theatre soloist Monique Meunier recently began their tenure as co-directors of the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre (ANBT). Pointe asked the husband-and-wife team about their plans for the school, and their advice for pre-professional students.
What is your vision for ANBT?
We want to raise the technical level of the students to the best of our ability and to explore the possibility of expanding the current programs. We believe that exposure is one of the key elements needed; we would like for the students to be able to maximize their experiences and receive the opportunity to see and be part of great art. This can be achieved by working with established artists in addition to dancing challenging works during the annual Spring Concert.
Are there any particular changes you’re planning to make?
We would like to eventually invite accomplished artists to ANBT to teach and create on the students within a workshop setting, and add additional styles of dance to the curriculum.
What drew you to this new position?
We feel it is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in a community that has clearly shown an interest in expanding its arts programs, within the educational system as well as in the performing arts.
In your view, what are the most essential skills for ballet students to hone during their last years as pre-professionals?
Discipline, respect and etiquette are absolute essentials. Most important is cultivating an ability to set goals while striving to achieve them.
What advice would you offer students hoping to be professionals?
Continue to work hard, take care of your body, and be committed to your mission. Always look to improve and don’t compare yourself to others.