This weekend, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen will be kicking off the 2017/2018 season with our first performance in Geneva, NY! However, for CBJ’s newest dancer, Isaac Wright, this won’t be his first time performing with the company. Isaac started his CBJ career as a local participant, performing the role of Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition in 2010. Now Isaac joins the company as a full member, so we asked him about what it was like to come full circle with CBJ and what he was looking forward to this season!
Introduce yourself to our audience! Can you tell us a little bit about your dance background?
My name is Isaac and this is my first year with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen. I started dancing when I was four and I initially started with tap-dancing. I tried ballet but didn’t really enjoy it- I wanted to be moving more and doing something with a little more energy. In class one day a teacher saw me and said that if I wanted to have a career as a dancer I should do ballet, because it’s the foundation for everything. That’s when I started dancing ballet. When I was eleven I became a full time student at the Quinte Ballet School in Belleville, ON, where I’m from. At fourteen I auditioned for Canada’s National Ballet School and trained there until I graduated in 2015. Then I got an apprenticeship with the National Ballet of Canada and I danced there for two years before coming here.
What brought you to Canada’s Ballet Jörgen? How did you decide to audition with us?
When I was younger I danced with CBJ as a Local Participant in The Nutcracker. I also talked with the Artistic Director of Canada’s National Ballet School, Mavis Staines, and she suggested auditioning here, because she knows how much CBJ performs. She said to me, “at this point in your career you already have a really solid foundation, so it’s more about the performance aspect and getting in as many performances as you can.” I thought if I could get into this environment where I’m going to be pushed really hard and performing all the time, that would be really cool. So I reached out to Bengt and asked if I could audition.
So you kind of started your CBJ career years ago! How old were you when you did The Nutcracker and what role did you play?
I was twelve years old and I played the Son and the Nutcracker Prince.
What was that experience like?
It was my first time working with a professional ballet company, so it was kind of nerve-wracking coming into the studio and seeing all these really inspiring older dancers. It was great though, because I could really see what life in a company would be like. It was really different from what I imagined, but everyone looked like they were having a good time together. And it was fun just getting to dance all day with them. It was a really great experience.
Do you have any memories from that experience that stand out?
Taylor, Hiroto, and Saniya were with the company then, and I remember Hiroto being a really amazing dancer and so inspirational for a young twelve year old like me. Now I’m working with them, so it’s crazy. Taylor remembers me and now I’m partnering her! I definitely remember the touring too- going to different cities and being in a professional performance. I had only done recitals up to then, and being in a company environment where the standard is so high and the audience is really receptive was amazing.
For your first season with CBJ you’re performing in Anastasia. What’s that like?
Well, I’ve been in very big productions before with the National Ballet, but this is really different because I’m so used to being in a really big corps de ballet where you don’t get to do as much dancing. Here I get to be in every scene and I do pretty much every part. What I really like is that I’m getting so much stage time out of it, and I’m getting to dance so much more in every production.
What do you hope to take out of your first season?
I’m trying to take every opportunity on stage that I can to work on my performance and be really comfortable stepping on stage. I’m definitely looking forward to growing as a dancer and to performing more and working more on my artistry within the ballet. With CBJ, most of my time will be on stage instead of in the studio. Every performance I get to work on my artistry.
This is going to be your first cross Canada tour. Are there any stops that you’re looking forward to?
I’m just really looking forward to the entire west coast tour, I’ve never been west of Ontario. I’ve been east, but it’s going to be my first time going to British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I’m really excited to go west.
You’re just starting out your career as a dancer, but are there any roles that you would really like to dance this season or the future?
This season I’m really excited to dance The Nutcracker because really like this version of it. And having been in it as a kid, it’s exciting to now get to perform in it as a professional. In the future I would love to do the Grand Pas De Deux as Lord Birch. CBJ also does Coppelia and I love that ballet. I did the pas de deux from it in my apprentice performances last year so I would love to do the full-length ballet and the lead role in that. Another dream role of mine is Albrecht in Giselle. I know CBJ doesn’t do Giselle right now, but that is just a general dream role.
You’re just starting out in your professional dance career, but where do you see yourself or hope to be in five years?
I’m taking every year as it comes but hopefully I see myself growing so much as a dancer. It would be really nice to stay here and grow within the company. As a dancer you grow into bigger roles once the company trusts you. Hopefully good things will happen.
Make sure you cheer on Isaac as he takes on his first full season with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen! Find out when CBJ will be coming to a theatre near you here!
Our anniversary marks 30 years of supporting the development of young artists like Isaac. Please consider joining us in our 30-year birthday celebration with a gift of $30!