Barry Kerollis was born in Philadelphia, PA. He trained at the Chester Valley Dance Academy in Lionville, PA and on scholarship at the Kirov Academy of Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Mr. Kerollis began his career in 2003 with the Houston Ballet. In 2004, he joined Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, WA, where he continued to dance for seven seasons. Barry currently works as a freelance dancer based out of Philadelphia.
View Barry’s Lyquid Talent Website: http://barrykerollis.com
View Barry’s Blog: http://lifeofafreelancedancer.blogspot.com/
Interview with Barry Kerollis
Q. What was the most difficult part in getting your first professional dance job?
A. I was convinced that it would be very difficult for me to get a job offer during my final year of training. I auditioned for any and every ballet company that came through New York City. The most challenging part of getting my first job was getting through 14 auditions in a two and half month period of time.
Q. What must dancers do in order to maintain their professional status with a company?
A. It is important for all dancers to first learn that they are not the only person in the room. Once this happens, they need to continue working to perfect their technique, project emotion and artistry, and pick up choreography quickly. Lastly, they need to learn that cross-training will protect them from injury and, when healthy, it will make them stronger and grow faster in the studio.
Q. When did you become comfortable and confident in yourself as a professional?
A. I feel that this is the great challenge of a dancer. I always feel confident and comfortable, but always have trouble feeling these same emotions. I tend to be confident before and after with a lot of questioning in-between. But the irony is that the questioning phase never leaves me with a lack of confidence.
Q. Do you ever have doubts with your abilities?
A. I don’t necessarily doubt my abilities because I understand why things are working or not working. The doubt comes when there are aches and pains that prevent me from utilizing what is necessary to properly execute steps.
Q. What are you most excited about when it comes to dance?
A. I am really interested in pushing myself towards musical theatre. After over 10 years as a neo-classical and contemporary dancer, I feel it would be full circle to end up in a Broadway show.
Q. What made you choose your current company?
A. I am not currently attached to a company. After spending nearly a decade dancing full-time in companies, I decided to embark on a life of freelancing. I chose to do this because I didn’t want to move from Philadelphia and had established a good life in the city. Looking for other company work would most likely require me to pick up and move again.
Q. How did you first become interested in ballet?
A. At the age of 4, I would sit in the lobby of my first dance studio while my sister was taking a creative movement class. With all of my youthful energy, I kept barging into the classroom and interrupting. The teacher had a great idea and told my mom that I could stay in the class for free if I would pay attention. I never left.
Q. When did you know you wanted to be a professional dancer?
A. I knew around the age of 12 that I wanted to be a professional, but I was pretty sure I wanted to be on Broadway. My passions slowly pushed me towards ballet and I took that path, keeping in mind I could eventually go back to Broadway
Q. Who has been the biggest supporter of your dance career?
A. My mom has always been my biggest fan since the beginning. Once I moved away from home, my life partner took over that job.
Q. What drives you as a dancer?
A. I feel that I am driven by many things. But, most recently, I discovered that I am most strongly driven by a hunger for success.
Q. Besides ballet, do you do any other styles of dancing?
A. I was actually raised as a competition kid, performing an array of styles from jazz to tap to modern dance. My varied background has always stayed with me, which is probably why I am constantly taking on other styles of dance.
Q. What do you do when you’re not dancing?
A. I am very big into social media. I have my own blog, Life of a Freelance Dancer, which I maintain with regular weekly posts. I am also very passionate about music. I play a variety of instruments, from flute to piano.
Q. What is your favorite type of comfort food?
A. Anything with BBQ sauce.
Q. Do you have any hidden talents you would like to share?
A. I can make my eyes vibrate back and forth.
Q. Do you have any advice for any aspiring dancers?
A. Understand that the dance world is survival of the fittest. You must truly be passionate to make it through all of its trials. While it can be very challenging to navigate, the rewards are truly incredible and the people that take that journey with you are unlike most people you will meet.
Q. What three things do you always need in your dance bag?
A. Socks – I never wear slippers at barre. Towel – There is nothing worse than sweat dripping in your eyes. Kashi Go Lean Caramel Chocolate bar – I am always hungry, so I need many snacks. This is my favorite.