Jean Pierre Pribilois, Ballet teacher extraordinaire

 Jean Pierre Pribilois, Ballet teacher extraordinaire

To find a dance teacher who is a mentor in the true sense is very difficult for a dancer. It is said only if the dancer is lucky can they find that mentor. In a philosophical way it is said ‘You can’t choose the teacher of art, HE will choose the right teacher for you.’ Jean Pierre Pribilois, who is a senior member of The International Dance Council CID, the United Nations of Dance, is the teacher of teachers in Ballet.

Now based in Rome, Italy, Jean Pierre has travelled the world teaching ballet, for 27 years he was in Africa (Egypt, Morocco and South Africa) and 25 years in Europe. He is a dance teacher who says ‘Never give up dance for any reason, go for it, always, never have regrets, look forward in your future life, what you do today could become a lighthouse of hope for the youngest one. Our modern society is sinking in an ocean of darkness, you as a lighthouse could be the hope of a tomorrow.’ I met this dynamic teacher of ballet and we had a heart to heart talk about his dancing journey.
Excerpts from the interview;

Tell me about your dance journey?
I started at the age of ten by doing gymnastic, then at the age of eleven I started learning ballet, my mother who was a renowned ballet teacher was my teacher, my very first solo performance with the music of Piotr I. Tchaikovsky of the Capriccio Italiano just the beginning of the Ouverture was a big flop. I felt very clumsy, with costume and make-up, I looked more like bugs bunny jumping all around the stage, my school mates were all teasing me. I just did not want to dance again. But seeing The legendary Bolshoi Ballet who came on tour at the principal Opera House of the town changed my mind, there began a journey of studying dance and studying with no intervals.

How did you move from being a dancer to a choreographer?
The very first appearance on stage was so tragic and sad, as a professional dancer a decade later repaid me with great happiness, when I joined Performing Art Council of Transvaal (PACT) Ballet in Johannesburg in South Africa in 1980, I appeared on stage in the role of the Duke of Verona in the Ballet of Romeo & Juliet. In that Ballet Company I made immense progress, I dance in all productions always as Corps de Ballet. I never aimed at becoming a Soloist or Principal Dancer, I was content with what I had.
One day the choreographer of PACT Ballet asked me if I wanted to participate to a Young Choreographer Competition, I was 21 then, I hesitated at first, but eventually said yes. I prepared three Pas de Deux with the renowned ballet dancers Maxine Denys, Gary Doherty and Steven Melvin and I am glad to share that work of mine has been held at the Witwatersrand University of Johannesburg.
As a choreographer and as a dancer being stubborn for good things gives often good results. It is us that with our thoughts, with our words, with our actions we shape our own future. A wrong step and you fall miles away, mistakes are useful and necessary but in life as in dance mistakes can and must be done, otherwise perfection will never be reached.

How are you as a dancer, teacher and as a choreographer?
As a dancer I was often staying hidden in the stage wings or in the corner of the ballet studio with a book in hand, taking notation on how choreographers and ballet teachers would correct soloist or writing down all the ballet combinations and variations.
As a ballet teacher I always apply what my teachers and great artists of ballet taught me. I am very demanding, my classes are an old fashion style of technique as ballet was in 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I am severe, but encouraging. I don’t scream during class, but technical corrections are an important tool key. I believe a ballet teacher is exactly like Michelangelo who is sculpting a statue, a wrong hit or kick of hammer and you deform the line of the statue.
As a choreographer, during rehearsal I roar and no pity for little mistakes, as stage discipline, stage placing as lines in dance are extremely crucial.

Been in the field for decades, what changes have you seen in the dance scene?
Ballet today is absolutely different from before, now a mix of contemporary dance, modern and acrobatic works have come in. Even a Ballet class style is now different, dancer bodies have also changed due to the new technique, and modern life, today dancers can easily make a Developé è la Seconde touching the ceiling with the pointe of the foot, nothing bad in all that, but sometimes it is good either for teachers and dancers to apply the good old rules of ballet. I have observed that today dancers get injuries more rapidly, while in my times dancers were more resistant.

As a dancer what do you think about Indian dances and how do you see it?
The first time I saw an Indian dance was in a movie, I was amazed by the dancers, the choreography, the songs, the costumes. Now thanks to youtube I have the chance not only to admire all Indian dances that we see, but also it gives me the privilege and opportunity to learn and enrich myself from a new culture. On what concerns ballet in India the little we can see on the web is outstanding and can detect a great amount of talented generations who are born to become great dancers. I easily can say that if given the possibility India should and could have it’s own National Ballet Company like the ones we see in many other countries in the world.

Sandip Soparrkar holds a doctorate in world mythology folklore from Pacific University USA, an honorary doctorate in performing arts from the National American University, He is a World Book Record holder, a well-known Ballroom dancer and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honored with three National Excellence awards, one National Achievement Award and Dada Saheb Phalke award by the Government of India. He can be contacted on [email protected]


News, Lifestyle & Entertainment stories - all at one place

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!