“My name is Ruben Martinez and I am a trainee with San Diego Ballet. The company recently performed for Chula Vista High School where I graduated in 2007. The students were given the chance to view us taking class on stage and a Q&A after. I was asked a few questions, one of those was the ever so popular “how long have you been dancing?”
Ironically, I didn’t dance at Chula Vista High school considering they had a dance program. I was more into music and thought I would do something with that in life. It wasn’t until my last month of high school at 18 that a good friend introduced me to technical dancing. She took me to a small studio where I signed up for a modern and flexibility class. Somehow I became obsessed with dance and decided I would include it in my career. I applied to community college and registered for all the dance classes I could. I was extremely intrigued by modern dance I looked forward to it every class. Ballet was a different story but I knew if I wanted to be a well-rounded dancer ballet was essential. I really put all my time towards dance, in my spare time I would stretch or read about it. Later I joined a small Ballet Conservatory in Chula Vista where I was offered a scholarship. I worked hard, studied the English ballet system, and participated in yearly exams. Slowly I fell in love with ballet and its challenges. I assumed I would become a teacher because I started too late.
Time went on and I was improving, I felt maybe I have a small chance. I then went to audition for the ABT summer colligate program, huge slap of reality. I had never seen so much talent in one room. I decided it was time for me to leave my home studio but wasn’t quite sure where to go. I was on YouTube one day and like most dancers I was watching ballet. I came across a video of young men in class training hard with their teacher; in the video they mentioned San Diego. I said to myself this is perfect! I have to train with that teacher. I investigated and a friend told me his name was Max and he teaches at San Diego Ballet School. I contacted the schools director about how I could become a student and then I joined. Never had I experienced such a challenging ballet program. Mentally and physically it was difficult making me question my career choices. I continued to study for a year and within that year I was asked to do a small part in The Nutcracker and Don Juan through Javier Velasco. It gave me an inside look at what company life is.
At the end of the year I approached Javier that I was interested to be part of the company next season. I was offered a trainee contract. I decided to put my academics on hold and take advantage because to me it was an opportunity I couldn’t deny.
Now in the company my life has changed. As the season started my body was having a difficult time adjusting to different teachers, new choreography, mornings instead of nights. At this point I have a better understanding of how to work smart no matter how crazy the schedule. Honestly I can say I love being in the company. I am learning so much with the variety of teachers and finding what it takes to become an artist. I’m always given so many opportunities by the staff. It feels so nice to be part of something so beautiful. I still have room for improvement so I can never take it for granted. I have only been training for 6 years and to be able to go back to my high school and perform as part of company is a dream come true.”