CulturalOyster: How old are you now,
I am 32 years
Gomez: How old were you
when you started, and where did you start?
I took my first
dance class ever at age 15 with a performance group that did musical
Gomez in his first Nutcracker
revues called The Rising Stars of Texas, in San Antonio . I got my first taste of "real" ballet at age 19 with
a pre-professional company in Tallahassee, Florida called Pas de Vie
ballet. Charles Hagan and Natalia Botha, both former dancers with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, started this company and it was under them that I learned the ropes of ballet life and saw and performed in my
first Nutcracker -- and it's through them that I received my first job.
CulturalOyster: What, or who, or both, inspired you to fall in
love with ballet, to stick it out and make a career
out if it?
Gomez: My love and passion for ballet was fostered with
Pas de Vie ballet, though I was still in school at Florida State University
completing my Music degree and following a pre-med curriculum. After college, I got a job with a psychiatrist back in my
hometown, San Antonio. My mom worked for Dr. Escamilla, and he was the one who had guided me on my pre-med track in high school. While I was working for
him, I got news that a local ballet company was in need of men
and I should send a video. Dr. Escamila met with me and encouraged me to
pursue dance if it was a passion. He's a musician as well as a doctor, and he's in a band, so he understood. He told me not fully pursuing music was something he regretted, and that if
I worked hard enough medicine would always be there
for me to enter into at any age. That gave me the push to send my video and
take my first professional job.
CulturalOyster: Where has your career in ballet taken you – where
have you danced, as a student and as a professional?
Gomez:I love that I had the
opportunity to travel with ballet. Through Pas de Vie ballet in Florida,
I made connections and got training at Nutmeg Conservatory in
Connecticut. I also spent some summers with The Joffrey Workshop in San
Antonio. I danced professionally with Ballet
San Antonio before they became a full-time company, and then with Ballet Quad Cities
in Iowa, where I danced six seasons. After leaving BQC I joined Missouri
Ballet Theatre in St. Louis, under Adam Sage. I spent two seasons there.
Then I auditioned here in Madison and joined Madison
Ballet in 2014.
CulturalOyster: Tell me a little about a few of your very
favorite career highlights.They don’t
all have to be “favorite roles!”
Gomez:I have so many memories. One of my favorite roles was Oberon, in Adam Sage's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Also,
getting to dance Madison Ballet's principal male Nutcrackerrole with Molly
Luksik at Overture Hall, with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra – because that was largest
venue I've danced in, I didn't often have
Gomez soaring at Ballet Quad Cities
live music in
the Nutcrackers of my career,
and I enjoyed the partnership I had with Molly. Offstage, I will always remember all the
laughs. At Ballet Quad Cities I had to rehearse the Arabian pas [in Nutcracker] with one of my
good friends (we were like brother and sister) and we
could not look at each with
the passion that’s needed for Arabian. We spent the first
few weeks of rehearsal just giggling uncontrollably, much to the frustration of
our director. Also, I'll never forget laughing every year in Iowa when we'd learn Russian
forNutcracker and we’d all have to
watch a video of
me tripping in those abominable puffy trepak pants.
CulturalOyster: Retirement from the stage is abig step.How do you feel about it?
Gomez: There a mixed emotions with retiring from
full-time dance. I feel fulfilled with a lot of
the experiences and opportunities I've had over the years, and I've known for a
few years that this transition was coming because I have another career that I've
wanted to pursue since the age of five, that I've put on hold. Of course, the
dancer in me can't
imagine not taking class everyday,
and the same dread that comes over me in the summers – that
question of “how will I stay in shape?” – is creeping into my head now.
Dance is physically demanding and truly does encompass all aspects of your
life. With age you grow as an artist, but the
physical demands become steeper, and I am wanting more than the "dancer lifestyle"
that's easy to
accommodate in your younger years. I'm ready to let that go and follow
CulturalOyster: What’s next for you?
Gomez:Though I thought I'd want to pursue medicine in a medical school, over
the years I've gained a huge appreciation for and love of nursing. I
plan to go to nursing school and hopefully to
continue on to become a nurse practitioner. I'm already signed up for
prerequisites I need for a masters program at Ohio
State.It’s a good school
for nursing with a perfect program for someone like me who has no previous
nursing degree or experience but already has a bachelors’ degree. It just
so happens too that we want to move closer to my
husband's family, who also live in Ohio.I have an new flame burning, a drive, that
excites me and I feel blessed to know it and have opportunity to pursue it.