Silicon Valley Ballet Welcomes BRETT BAUER, Principal Dancer
When Brett Bauer left home at thirteen to enter ballet school, his mother worried he would be homesick. “Why?” Bauer remembers asking her. “It’s an adventure.” Now, Bauer has just embarked on his latest adventure – as Silicon Valley Ballet ’s newest Principal Dancer.
Bauer was first inspired to dance at the age of five after watching The Mickey Mouse Club. “There was a young boy on the show, a Michael Jackson impersonator, doing a moonwalk,” he says. “My mom was so amazed when she saw me copy him that she put me into dance class.”
By 1997, Bauer was ready to move from Connecticut to Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. Alone. “My parents didn’t want me to leave that young,” he admits, “but they realized dance was my calling. And leaving actually strengthened our family. When I was a teenager, I saw my parents as friends. I saved my rebellion for my teachers!”
At sixteen, Bauer moved to the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. But although the weather was balmier, the Russian-inspired training was much more harsh. “It was a reminder of the reality of the ballet world,” Bauer explains. “That once you get a job, you’re expected to produce.”
In 2001, Bauer joined the Suzanne Farrell Ballet. He was on his way to rehearsal in downtown Manhattan when the Twin Towers were hit on 9/11. “You could smell the smoke in the air,” he recalls. “I was seventeen, and my parents were all the way over in Europe. From the apartment of a family friend, I saw two F-16s fly across central park at eye level.” Even so, the company’s tour went on – just a few days later, Bauer was on the first flight reinstated between New York and Washington, D.C.
After the tour, Bauer joined the San Francisco Ballet School and was quickly asked to join the company’s corps. “It was an incredible experience,” he says. “There was definitely a shock and awe factor for me with the people I got to work with every day. They were world-renowned choreographers and dancers.”
After eight seasons, Bauer moved to Oregon Ballet Theater as a soloist. “It was a much smaller company, with a much lighter mood. There was a very close, family feeling among the dancers,” he says. After a year, he was promoted to Principal Dancer. “The promotion really inspired me to put my head down and show that I deserved the new roles. It fuelled my own drive to be better and better. I felt pretty much unstoppable.”
After a change in management five seasons later, Bauer decided to move once again – this time to Silicon Valley Ballet. “The career is so short that you have to be happy where you’re dancing,” he points out. “No point in wasting time.”
And so far, after just a few months?
“Everyone here is so friendly and accepting and kind!” he laughs. “I can tell it’s a close-knit group. And the Artistic Director, Jose Carreño, is great at helping dancers look their best onstage.”