From California to Miami, Russia, and Rhode Island (to name a few!), Alan Alberto has danced all over the world. We caught up with one of FBP’s leading men to find out how that path led to Providence, what his favorite roles are to perform, and even his best chimichurri recipe…
Hey Alan! Let’s start with a bit of your background.
My family is Argentinean, I’m first generation born American. I grew up playing soccer and was a very athletic kid. I participated in theater and musical theater in school but didn’t begin any type of formal dance lessons until high school. I started dancing at the age of 15 in Miami.
So what was your training like?
I took my first formal ballet class on Valentine’s Day of 2003 at Mencia & Pikieris School of Dance. I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue ballet professionally. I auditioned for The Harid Conservatory and was accepted. I continued my studies at Harid for my Junior and Senior year of high school. Harid’s training is Vaganova, I enjoyed the training and after graduating wanted to continue my studies. I auditioned and was accepted to the Vaganova Ballet Academy (Academy of Russia Ballet) in St. Petersburg, Russia. I completed the upper school, Class 7 & 8, graduated in 2007.
It sounds like your ballet training was pretty well-rounded! Do you think that made it a bit easier to transition in professional life? What was your experience like?
My professional career began as a guest artist with Boca Ballet Theatre as Paris in Romeo & Juliet. After this performance I began my first season with Nashville Ballet in 2007. The transition from student to professional happened rather quickly and was challenging. There were high expectations and pressure to prove myself.
Wow, that must have been intimidating.
I had only been dancing for 4 years before I started working, I was very green but worked really hard. In 2008 I moved to NYC to expand my horizons and continue to grow as an artist.
You’ve had the experience of dancing in quite a few different environments. How do you feel these differing cultures have affected you as an artist?
I’ve been fortunate to have lived and danced in Russia, Florida, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, Croatia, and Rhode Island. These experiences have been wonderful, I’ve met some really beautiful and talented individuals along the way. The differing cultures have broadened my perspective on life, understanding, worth, value, and has taught me gratitude.
Lovely! This is your fifth season with the company. What do you like best about Festival Ballet Providence?
I’m grateful for my work at FBP and the opportunities I’ve been given. I appreciate that we’re a small company and we get to dance a lot.
Speaking of opportunities, you’ve had the pleasure of dancing several principal roles with the company. Do you have any favorites so far?
Romeo, which I just performed last month, is my favorite so far. It’s a role that feels very natural to me and allows me to be genuine with my emotions.
I’ve enjoyed the process of working with such a positive and inspiring choreographer like Ilya Kozadayev. It’s great to work with an artist with such good energy, vision, and passion.
The story is moving, the music is beautiful, the collaboration with Gamm Theatre is exciting, and the choreography is organic.
When you’re not dancing, you are pursuing your business degree at Johnson and Whales. Tell us a bit about why education is so important to you.
Education is extremely important to me. I really enjoy learning and strive to continue to grow every day of my life. I always knew I would get a degree in business, it just had to be the right place and the right time. After settling into my job at FBP, I knew the time was right. JWU is a great fit for me because of the adult program they offer in the evening, I can make it work with the FBP schedule. The business school offers a very well rounded business degree, my concentration is in Operations. I really enjoy business. I hope to translate the knowledge and network I’m building into my future career.
That’s so inspiring. And as if a full time ballet career and school weren’t enough, you’ve also started your own business, Mesa Fresca. Can you tell us a bit about that and what the experience has been like?
Mesa Fresca, the Fresh Table, is a food business my sister and I launched in 2014. We craft premium Hispanic cuisine with all natural & fresh ingredients, currently offering an authentic Argentine chimichurri sauce. Founded on family and community, Mesa Fresca aims to address the gap in the marketplace for authentic, fresh packaged Hispanic food. This summer we will be launching two new products. It’s exciting to see our business grow and expand.
The experience has been wonderful. It’s been fun meeting people in a different community (outside of ballet), getting more involved with individuals working on food policy in RI, and learning from successful & passionate entrepreneurs.
How do you juggle all of that?
I’m able to juggle all of it by keeping very organized and having a supportive family. I have a calendar where I make notes and plan my ballet, school, and Mesa Fresca schedule. My family and friends provide support which allows me to be successful.
Beautiful. So I have a jar of your chimichurri in my fridge and it is super yummy! But I was wondering, what’s your favorite dish to make using the Mesa Fresca chimichurri?
Chimichurri is traditional served over grilled meats. It’s great as a seasoning or marinade for steak, chicken, fish, or veggies. My favorite way to eat it is over sausages.
- Grill Italian Sausages (Chorizo)
- Lightly toast a French Baguette on grill (when the sausages are almost done)
- Cut open the baguette (the long way)
- Cut open the sausage (the long way)
- Place sausage in the baguette
- Drizzle chimichurri all over the sausage
- Enjoy your Chorizo Sandwich! (Chori-Pan)
In The Spotlight series is edited by Kirsten Evans and Dylan Giles.