Charlotte Ballet dancer Andrès Trezevant has moved a lot for someone who just turned 23. He was born in Tucson, then moved to Belgium and attended high school in Las Vegas before moving to Chicago.
Movement is his thing.
His high school, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, was a magnetic school about 10 minutes from the neon lights of the Vegas Strip. “My high school was downtown, so I was constantly around the performing arts,” he said. “I was surrounded by them. It certainly made it easier to find comfort in this area. Vegas offers plenty of support for those interested in the performing arts. »
Trezevant originally wanted to be an actor — not just when he was growing up, either. He was a child actor. His mother took him to auditions, he got roles. At the age of 11 he added dance to his repertoire and thought musical theater might be his future.
So what Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater came to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Vegas and the 15-year-old was transfixed. Trezevant, who is Hispanic and African American, describes Ailey as “a hero.”
“I was in 10and when I saw the Alvin Ailey Company perform,” he said. “It made me realize that dancing was what I wanted to pursue as a career.”
He got a promotion
Trezevant landed in Charlotte a little over two years ago at the invitation of Hope Muir, artistic director of the Charlotte Ballet. He joined Charlotte Ballet II, a two-year pre-professional training program.
Charlotte Ballet II dancers appear on stage with the main company – when there is not a raging pandemic – and lead lectures, demonstrations and residencies in public and private schools. At the end of Trezevant’s two years, there was an opening in the main business. He got a promotion.
Muir likes to promote from within. “It’s good for the academy dancers to see that there is a career path for them.”
Before coming to Charlotte, Trezevant danced with the Hubbard Street Professional Program in Chicago. He was preparing for his second year there when he got a call from his Las Vegas-based mentor. Stone Chu, founder and artistic director of chuthis. Chu asked if Trezevant could audition for Muir.
Muir liked what she saw.
“Andrès had been a child actor, which gives him a sense of theatricality,” she said. “But there’s nothing precocious about him. When I saw him in lecture demonstrations with students, I noticed his ability to communicate and engage with these children. He is so comfortable in the way he communicates.
In addition to teaching, Trezevant has performed several times with the main company. He was in “Peter Pan”. And Muir said: “He played Drosselmeyer in ‘The Nutcracker’ and held an entire act of a ballet.
“He had a starring role in ‘Leonce and Lena,'” Muir said. “And he shone. He was second company leader; he gave me ideas. ‘Can I play it this way? And that?'”
Trezevant describes himself as a “very groove-oriented contemporary dancer” and said his versatility is a plus. “I like to use ballet techniques, but I’m more comfortable with contemporary.”
“He can really shape a change in a role,” Muir said. “He’s a fantastic mover and has excellent coordination.” He also began creating his own dances and joined the Choreographic Lab at Charlotte Ballet, a program that showcases budding choreographers.
At home in QC
Trezevant lives in uptown. He said he was used to the urban environment and liked “feeling like a part of the city”.
He grew up in a single-parent family and his mother attends all of his performances. She left Vegas for Virginia, so it’s easier to get to Charlotte. “She’s my biggest fan,” Trezevant said.
Vegas may have been Trezevant’s training ground, but there are few traces of this country son’s over-the-top glitz. “Andrès is calm, sensitive, thoughtful,” Muir said.
Despite the support of her mother, teachers and hometown, Trezevant says there have been challenges along the way.
“It’s constantly a battle trying to get to where I want to be,” he said. “Even in Vegas, I had to deal with comments about being a male dancer – and especially of color. People made assumptions — like maybe the only place for me was in a black-centric dance company. I had to drown out their voices.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the Charlotte Ballet dancers returned to the studio at the end of September.
Professional dancers need an audience; that’s part of why they do what they do. It’s hard not to have one.
“It’s as if the proverbial tree fell in the forest and no one was there to hear it,” Muir said. “If what you do is not seen, does it even exist?
“Our dancers were away for so long,” she said. “A sabbatical year in dance simply does not exist. This is what keeps me up at night.
She and company can’t wait to get back on stage. “I can’t wait to see what’s next for Andrés,” she said. “Before the pandemic, I had reserved great opportunities for him.”
This story is part of an Observer fundraising project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, supporting arts journalism in Charlotte.
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This story was originally published November 16, 2020 9:30 a.m.