Matt Carney’s appearances with the San Diego Ballet are underwritten in part by Carolyn & Giovanni Bertussi, Carri Harris, and Fei Li Tan Twite through the Adopt A Dancer program.
Who influenced you most to become the dancer you are today?
I’ve been lucky to have a lot of great teachers my whole life. What a blessing! After years of focusing my efforts doing plays and musicals, I took an adult modern class at a community center in St. Louis. As luck would have it the teacher was Cecil Slaughter. He had a distinguished professional career and to this day is one of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He also taught jazz at a ballet school and encouraged me to go there where I quickly became a scholarship student. I started taking as many classes as possible and have not looked back since. Local influences include John Malashock, Michael Mizerany, Javier Velasco, Jean Isaacs, and Betzi Roe.
What was the funniest episode(s) you’ve experienced in your career?
One of the funniest times was while dancing with SDB principal dancer Stephanie Maiorano doing a pas de duex for Carnival of the Animals. A love duet between a Rhino and a Flamingo… In the middle of the dance we both lost our orientation and didn’t know which way was front or back or stage left or right. It was after a turning lift and I put Stephanie down. We both looked at each other like, lol, do you know which way to go? We both were like, not so much…. We trudged through and figured it out by the end of the dance. The smiles on our faces that day were certainly real, no acting needed. Fun Fact: This happened twice at two different theaters.
Who would you most like to share the stage with (living or dead)?
Toss up, my dogs Gaston and Eva or Katharine Hepburn….
What goes through your mind just before you perform?
Usually a very brief moment of panic followed by a sense of calm. Not necessarily in that order.
What do you like/admire most about San Diego Ballet?
It feels like a true representation of San Diego. Fun, Sexy, Cool, Classy yet Casual.