Monday, April 27, 2020

meet Thomas "Tom" Bloch..ballerino

One more time I cannot sing the praises of the internet enough that allows me to meet some of the most talented and gifted créateurs of this age. Today’s subject is all about the rigor and training that allows this young man to be a dancer of the dance…. so to speak … and that is his artistry and his creation. This is not a quasi-danseur but a certified dyed in the wool ballerino, if you would, who has danced worldwide as an invited guest performer for several classical ballet companies/troupes as well as taught. 
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“A ballet dancer's goal is to make physically demanding choreography appear effortless” Wikipedia

As it turns out, not only he is a “talent on his toes” but he is genuinely gracious, multilingual, and sincere in his dedication to the art of dance. With his self-effacing demeanor, he is inordinately endearing as well. We are not speaking of some wannabe prancing around people’s living rooms pretending to be accomplished but about a dancer who has performed in legitimate venues as part of established troupes from NYC to Russia to Japan or in other words, an international gentleman of the ballet pursuing a trajectory toward worldwide recognition.
click image to enlarge/ photographer Dean Barucija (@pickledthoughts)
 So now I share with you the pleasure of meeting Tom Bloch, in his own words:
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Jeffrey Felner:  Can you give us a sort of brief resume as to how you arrived at your present professional situation?
Tom Bloch: I had a very different route seeking my professional career. I wasn’t   involved in ballet or dance in any way until I was almost 21when I discovered my love and passion for ballet and quickly tried to get the best training possible; within a year I had scholarships from prestigious summer schools where I met incredible teachers and was suddenly enlightened.  The turning point between treating ballet as a hobby and deciding to make it a profession was thanks to the one and only, Violette Verdy. She told me I would be a dancer to watch and that was my trigger to make ballet my profession. 

*I had the good fortune to cross paths with a very famous dancer and teacher …. Eitan Sivak who simply told me that I have a gift from God, but I might be too old to use it. So it is now or never…  find a ballet academy with a company that will train you well enough but if that’s not possible then forget about it as age is a huge factor. I took his advice and went to audition for several ballet schools and academies but given my age came into issue and I was turned down by most. *Fortunately, the National Ballet Conservatory, in Portugal, gave me my chance. The teacher Marc de Graef insisted the school accept me after my audition. He was not only my ballet teacher but my guide and mentor. Thanks to him I was given the chance to learn and develop and grow as a dancer and artist. He is the reason I have a career.

*Upon graduation, I returned to the USA to dance, where I met the wonderful Kyra Nichols who led me to fall in love with the Balanchine style and technique. Upon moving to NYC, I joined the Manhattan Youth Ballet, where I was trained by some of the finest teachers in the USA.  I had learned the Balanchine way as I wished and improved tremendously in a very short time. After only eighteen months, I signed 2 contracts in Europe and have been working ever since!
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JF: If you hadn’t chosen this particular aspect of the arts, what would have been your ideal situation/dream and why and where would it have been?
 TB: I always wanted to be a model. If it weren't for ballet, my dream life would be to have been involved in the world of fashion. I have always had a strong attraction to fashion and style; its creativity and breaking into that industry always intrigued me.
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 JF:  If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
TB: Madonna, as my favourite artist and a fashion icon I would love to talk to her about what was behind her "reinventions" in her styles and looks. Next, Raf Simons as I would love to hear about his inspirations and imagination. I would have love to hear his opinion on whether he would design ballet costumes. George Balanchine, his style and ballets thrilled me from the early stages of my career. I would love to talk to the man who changed the perception of ballet …A true genius! Max Richter, the incredible composer. His way of composing such wonderfully crafted modern compositions that aren't dissonant as many modern composers write their music; He is unique and very true to classicism. I’d love to discuss a new piece with him and how the melodies are created in his head. Lastly, my late teacher - Marc de Graef who I would have love to see once more, and tell him everything I had achieved in my career and life. he would be very witty, sassy, amusing and very fatherly, just as he always was with me.
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JF: Can you speak to what you do as an artist and what sets your work apart from so much of what we see on social media? Do you see a downside from “putting yourself out there” with regard to how people react to your images?
TB: "He who tooted not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted" or words to that effect

I can't really tell what really sets me apart from what you see on social media.

However, many people react that I have a unique look and physique and that I can look sexy but never sleazy. I always try to have different styles in my photos and most of the reactions are more than very good.
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 JF: Do you have any mentors, whether in dance or fashion, that you admire or try to emulate and why have you chosen them
TB: I really admire Roberto Bolle and Friedemann Vogel as they have always been the dancers I looked up to as they represented the type of body that I have. I always admired how they dance with elegance and exquisite precision and have demonstrated that ballet is not a circus, but a fine art. 
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Special thanks to Klaus Wegele (@dancemovements), Mario Malhöfer & Tom Ge, Dean Barucija & Nick Trautman for their images

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