PRINCIPAL DANCER WITH BOSTON BALLET
Paul Craig began his dance and performance training at The Conservatory of Dance in Manistee, Michigan,when he was 10. He received the Garold Gardner Scholarship to train at Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of Petrus Bosman and Tyrone Brooks. Paul was awarded the Virginia School of the Arts Merit Award and the Virginia School of the Arts Deans Award upon graduating. He then spent a year at Boston Ballet School as a trainee before joining Boston Ballet II in 2007. He joined the Corps de Ballet in 2008 and was promoted to Second Soloist in 2014, and again to Soloist in the middle of Boston Ballet's 2015/2016 season.
Paul’s Boston Ballet classical repertory includes The Nutcracker Cavalier in Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker”, Paris in Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Prince Gremin in Cranko’s “Onegin”, Florence Clerc’s “La Bayadere”, Kudelka’s “Cinderella”, Mikko Nissinen’s “Swan Lake” and “The Sleeping Beauty.” He has also danced featured roles in Robbins' “Fancy Free”, Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia”, Balanchine’s “Divertimento No. 15”, “The Four Temperaments”, “Rubies”, and “Theme and Variations”, Kylian’s “Bella Figura”, “Wings of Wax” and “Petite Mort”, Forsythe’s “The Second Detail”, Neumeier’s “Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler”, and Jorma Elo’s “Double Evil”, “Brake the Eyes”, “Slice to Sharp”, and “Carmen”.
Paul has performed in numerous galas around the world including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, World Ballet Competition, Cape Dance Festival, and American Dance Competition. He is also a dancer with Cirio Collective, a contemporary company based out of Boston. Paul has taught master classes across his home state of Michigan, Boston Ballet School, and in Camp Harbor View, a nonprofit outreach program in Boston.
Team Zarely: Have you decided to be a ballet dancer by yourself or it was your parents' decision?
Paul Craig: I wanted to take tap lessons at age 6 after seeing Gene Kelly on TV, and my dance teacher eventually asked me to do ballet.
Team Zarely: What do you think is the hardest part in being a principal dancer?
Paul Craig: Although being a professional dancer is extremely taxing physically, I think the hardest part is how difficult ballet is mentally. Having to confront every aspect of yourself, everyday. From being in front of a mirror, to comparing yourself to others.
Team Zarely: What do you think is the most essential talent or ability for a ballet dancer?
Paul Craig: In my opinion the main talent a ballet dancer possesses is the ability to convey a feeling through movement. Whether that feeling is inspired by music, by a story, or by an idea, each dancer has different perspectives to contribute to their own movement. It also celebrates individuality.
Team Zarely: When young dancers ask for your advice, what do you usually suggest them?
Paul Craig: Be a sponge, soak up any piece of information that will help you to become a better dancer, artist, and human. And also never say “I can't do it”.
Team Zarely: And what do you dream of?
Paul Craig: Oh! I’m always dreaming. It was my dream to become a principal dancer with Boston Ballet, now I get to live that dream. I also dream of being a musician. Perhaps I can combine the two dreams somehow...
Team Zarely: Do you have any hobbies?
Paul Craig: I love music, especially playing it. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11, but I'll try and make a song out of any instrument I can find.
Team Zarely: Is there any sport activity you do in your free time? Such as yoga, pilates, jogging etc?
Paul Craig: Swimming is great for increasing your stamina, improve breathing techniques, and much less of an impact on your body than jogging. I also do yoga every once in a while. It is a great balancing exercise for your body and mind.
Photos by Camilla Gibson