Now in his sixth season with Atlanta Ballet, dancer Jacob Bush is getting ready to take the stage for the final performances of the season. The show is entitled MAYhem and offers up an explosive performance that each year shows the future direction of the Atlanta Ballet. Jacob has lived all over the world dancing and studying for his career eventually landing back in our fair city. He took a few minutes between rehearsals to show us some of his ballet training and be photographed with Annie and Coco for our pet issue.
Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Jacob moved down here with his parents at 13. He joined the officially accredited Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education and moved up through the ranks; first at their conservatory, then as a trainee working with the company. Each season there are only 23 contracts available to the applicants. “It can get pretty limited,” 27 year-old Jacob shares.
Now with only a week to get fully prepared for opening night, the company is getting ready to end rehearsals in their studios and move them to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center stage. “We are just running each piece throughout the day and fine tuning problem areas to make it stage ready.”
Atlanta Ballet might not be considered your traditional ballet company. “In traditional, bigger companies there is the hierarchy…soloist, corps, principal dancers,” explains Jacob. “We don’t have that here. Everyone is an ensemble performer, so there’s no ranking.”
Jacob is an openly gay performer. He doesn’t see that as making much of a difference in his career. “It’s very accepted in the art/ballet world. I think if you just are who you are, and make work-friendships you’ll be fine.”
MAYhem presents three very different short ballets. The first is entitled Cacti and involves the use of various sized wooden pedestals to create structures to dance upon. The piece serves up a large dose of “humor and whimsy.” Choreographer, Alexander Ekman drew inspiration from a type of yoga by Tibetan monks as he playfully makes fun of the art world. “Cacti is more of an ensemble piece so we all heavily participate,” states Jacob.
The second piece is Classical Symphony, and as its name suggests is a celebration of classical ballet. Acclaimed Russian choreographer Yuri Possokhov premiered the piece in 2010 with the San Francisco Ballet. This ballet is for those that are exhilarated by the tutus and pure athleticism of classical ballet. Jacob can be found as part of one of the soloist pairs in this dance.
Lastly, Angels’ Share is a more modern ballet original created for last year’s Wabi Sabi summer season. Award winning choreographer, John Heginbotham has created a dance that is ethereal and uplifting using live music from a string trio.
Though Jacob has a seven-year-old boxer/terrier mix named Penny, she was unable to join in the photo shoot (maybe she’s a prima ballerina?). “She’s a total sweetheart, I’m totally in love,” Jacob gushes. “I got her from the Atlanta Humane Society when she was three-months old.”
The Atlanta Ballet invites all of us to join them at the forefront of ballet with MAYhem. May 15 – 17 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Get your tickets and learn more about their performances and company at: atlantaballet.com