After six years as a member of the New York City Ballet, Puerto Rican dancer Sebastián Villarini Vélez was promoted to the position of soloist along with five other artists of the company. Camile Roldán Soto (El Nuevo Día) reports:
[. . .] The 25-year-old Puerto Rican [dancer] expressed his emotions for this achievement, which will allow him to have a much more relevant presence in the dance corps in main roles and the opportunity to work independently. “I still cannot believe it; I did not expect it. When they sent me the email to meet us yesterday (Saturday) I thought that I had gotten into trouble, for some reason. It was a total surprise,” he said.
Villarini grew up in San Juan and began dancing at seven. He took classes in the companies Andanza and Le Dance Studio in Guaynabo [Puerto Rico] where his teachers were Rodney Rivera, María Carrera, Yolanda Muñoz and Cuban dancer Joaquín Banegas, among others.
His relationship with the New York City Ballet began when he had the opportunity to participate in a summer course at the company’s School of American Ballet. Then they him offered another course in the winter and, later, invited him to be a full-time student. He spent two years as a student before becoming an apprentice to the company and, eventually, a member of the dance corps.
Of the ballet, Villarini treasures the fact that he can express feelings and emotions through movements. “It is very liberating. It is a type of communication without words,” said the dancer who, after the recent retirement of Giovanni Villalobos, is the only Puerto Rican dancer in the company.
“I always have Puerto Rico on my mind. The dream my brother (Jorge Villarini, who is also a dancer, but independent) and I have is to give back to the artistic community of this country all the love and support they have given us,” Villarini added.
Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article, see https://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/musica/nota/unbailarinboricuaseconvierteensolistadelnewyorkcityballet-2453032/