Male call

Ballet dancer finding his way

Talbot Rue, photography by Ellie Bogue

When parents are considering activities for their children, dance – particularly ballet – is often associated with daughters. For years images of tutus and princesses have made it hard for young boys to readily embrace the form, fearing they’ll be the only boy in a class full of girls. But in many cities, including Fort Wayne, that tide has been turning, and Fort Wayne Ballet now features a men’s program and boys-only classes that provide an exciting avenue for exploring the art of dance.

One of Fort Wayne Ballet’s most promising male dancers is Talbot Rue, who began at the ballet five years ago and is now a trainee with its company of professionals who will take the stage in the spring production of “Romeo & Juliet” this month.

Although at one time dance was a hobby, Rue admits that it’s now become his professional pursuit. Home-schooled to allow for more flexibility for classes and rehearsals, Rue’s family has been supportive of his efforts. He is the sixth of seven children, and his parents enjoy performing themselves, providing him with a creative environment at home and at his other “home” at the ballet studios. This past year, his education expanded to include a summer intensive program in Florida.

“It was a five-week intensive at the Next Generation Ballet in Tampa, and I got to study with Peter Stark. It was a really good experience, and I danced with about 40 guys and maybe 200-300 girls. I got to take the men’s classes and partnering classes, and I learned a lot about the auditioning process. I also got to perform a solo in the showcase at the end, and that was really great, too.”

Now in his senior year, Rue has recently graduated to more adult roles. Having played the Nutcracker Prince for several years in the annual staging of “The Nutcracker,” this past year he relinquished the spot to a younger dancer. His move toward more mature roles was evident in the fall 2012 performances of “Carmina Burana,” a collaborative effort featuring Fort Wayne Ballet, Heartland Chamber Chorale and Fort Wayne Children’s Choir.

“That really was a great opportunity for me because it was a more adult role, and it was great working with the choir and the orchestra and the guest artists who came in. It was ballet, but it had a lot of other elements to it, and working with the guest dancers is a good chance for me to learn. I try to get something new from each of them.”

“Fort Wayne Ballet, Too” – the ballet’s annual experimental dance performance choreographed by David Ingram, the director of FWB’s men’s program — has also allowed Rue to expand his repertoire and feel more comfortable in the multiple dance disciplines he’ll draw upon as he charts his future as a professional artist.

“That really has helped me because we get to do a lot of crazy stuff in those performances, and that has helped me get over my fears. I always get nervous before a performance, but I think having all of these different experiences has helped me get less nervous and able to go out and do whatever they tell me to do.”

First appeared in the March 2014 issue of Fort Wayne Monthly.


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