Filed under: In The Studio
Miles Pertl, an American from Kirkland, Washington is a student at the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany. In his third year and in the highest level, Miles tells us what it’s like to be a foreign student in a German ballet school.
en l’air: What other schools have you been to?
Miles Pertl: I attended PNB (Pacific Northwest Ballet) for a couple years and then switched in 2004, I switched to IBT (International Ballet Theater). I switched because there was better training and more performance opportunities. I also went to SFBS (San Francisco Ballet School) summer sessions in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
en l’air: How did you get to Germany?
Miles Pertl: In 2007 I participated in YAGP and did well. Mr. Matacz (the director of the school in Stuttgart) offered me a spot immediately after seeing my modern solo there. It took a lot of thought to decide where to go (I also had offers at ABT studio company and SFBS trainee program). In the end, I decided to come to Stuttgart because it had and stronger school and the obvious…it was in Europe!!!
en l’air: What is your basic day schedule like?
MP: Everyday is different, but right now, we start at 8:30 and have a two and a half hour ballet class. We then rehearse for the upcoming shows. I am doing “In and Out” by Hans van Manen, “Concerto” by Macmillan, “Words Unsaid” by Sascha Rivera and “Pineapple Poll” by John Cranko. Not to mention that soon we will have to perform a hip hop number and a 15 min flamenco piece. So with all of these pieces we rehearse a lot! On top of these rehearsals we have pas de deux/variations every week. We also have modern workshops scattered throughout the year. There are very few days that we finish early.
en l’air:Who are your main teachers?
MP: My main teachers are Peter Pestov. He is an 80 year old man from Moscow. He is the teacher of Vladimir Malakhov, Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Possokhov, Sascha Radetsky, Mikhail Kaniskin, Gennadi Saveliev, Nikolai Tsiskaridze and many many more. He is a legend and he proves it everyday we take class with him. He pushes you harder than anyone else would, and makes you work in ways that no one else could.
en l’air: What’s your status with Academic School?
MP: I graduated from Lake washington High school in 2007 with a diploma. I finished High school just in time to come to Stuttgart.
MP: I have so many favorite dancers. my favorite classical ballet dancers are Mikhail Baryshnikov and Sylvie Guillem. But my favorite dancer of all time is Ana Laguna. She is a true dance artist that can make you upset or cry just by doing a simple tendu.
en l’air: Favorite ballet to watch?
MP: Carmen By “Mats Ek”. Each time I watch it, I see something new and feel something new (and I’ve watched it a lot!) This choreography looks so simple but has so many layers underneath. It has an arc to it: from beginning everything connects to what was before it and what was after it, but it still has the abilty to surprise.
“Petit Mort” By Kylian
“Poeme de l’Extase” By Cranko
Anything new that Forsythe creates
La Maison de Bernarda Alba” By Mats Ek
and something by Jasmin Vardimon
( I really want to be a part of new pieces being created)
MP: I love being on stage. Its an answer that everyone gives to this type of question but it is true. The experience of being backstage and feeling that atmosphere is very specifically unique to the world of dance. Thats what I love most about ballet.
MP: Blind Pilot -Three rounds and a sound (the whole album kicks ass)
Bon Iver – for Emma forever ago
Modest Mouse – Good news for people who love bad news
MP: A lot of chocolate. hot hands (hand warmers), my ticket to Sylvie Guillem’s show last month.
MP: My girlfriend! Music, baseball, football, soccer, basketball, coffee, pizza, and rootbeer.
MP: Im really looking forward to dancing new pieces and participating in the creation of new ballets
en l’air: What do you like most about your school in particular?
MP: I love how international our school is. We have kids from all over the world (Italy, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, Armenia, Turkey, the U.S., England, Serbia, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Holland, and Ukraine) having such a mix really improves everyone’s dancing and their knowledge of the dance world. Plus you are able to make friends that will last a lifetime from around the world!
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