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100 Creatives 2012 Oliver Halkowich, Dancer and Performer

Oliver Halkowich in The Nutcracker. (Choreographer: Ben Stevenson)
Oliver Halkowich in The Nutcracker. (Choreographer: Ben Stevenson)
Photo by Amitava Sarkar

At the young and tender age of two, Oliver Halkowich, a transplanted "Floridian," began his dance training. Born in the Florida Keys, he studied with the Miami City Ballet School. At 14, he went to San Francisco and studied with the San Francisco Ballet School. After four years in San Francisco, he spent a year in Boston with Boston Ballet II. Boston Ballet II is a leading pre-professional program in residence at the Boston Ballet for performers aged 16 to 21. Ten years ago, he found his way to Houston, where he auditioned with Ben Stevenson. He landed the job and has been regularly seen with the Houston Ballet since.

What He Does: "I'm a dancer," says Halkowich. "I call myself a performer, and dance is an avenue for me to get onto stage and perform. That's what I love to do." However, there is more to his chosen career than just dancing. He wants "to entertain people," stating, "I'm out there to make people smile or to at least make them feel something for two hours." When he is onstage, his primary goal is to "get [the audience] out of their daily life and take them somewhere."

Why He Likes It: Performing is an obvious passion for Halkowich, who candidly affirmed, "I've always liked to be the center of attention." He enjoys dancing professionally because, simply put, he likes being onstage. Another motive is that he likes "to be someone else for a little while." He explains that when onstage, "you don't really see the audience" and that is how, like the audience, he can escape into his own world. This is what gives him his "chance to get away and pretend like [he's] somebody else, which is exciting."

If Not This, Then What: As a child and young adult, Halkowich was also involved in swimming, diving, gymnastics, karate, and the jazz and tap styles of dancing. "Before I went to San Francisco at 14, I was diving alongside of dance," he elaborates. "So, I'd kind of like to say that I would have been in London competing on the platform, but I doubt that would have been the case." Feeling that Olympic stardom wouldn't have been in his cards, he concedes that his "second big passion is food." With a sense of realism, he says, "I probably would have found a way to eat more, talk about food more and just surround myself in all things food."

Oliver Halkowich in The Sleeping Beauty. (Choreographer: Ben Stevenson)
Oliver Halkowich in The Sleeping Beauty. (Choreographer: Ben Stevenson)
Photo by Valerie Reeves, Art Institute of Houston North

If Not Here, Then Where: Halkowich freely admits, "I've always wanted to live in Manhattan." With resounding practicality, he divulges, "my sister lives in Manhattan, and it's not as glamorous as I kind of have it in my head. I know she struggles every day with that city, but to me it's still the be-all, end-all." Looking past New York City, he feels that "Europe is also intriguing. The dancing over there is just huge and so different from America."

What's Next: With a busy schedule over the next few months, the first place Houston audiences will see Halkowich again is in WOMEN @ ART, which opens September 20. He'll be in all ballets. He's also looking forward to the big premiere by Canadian choreographer Aszure Barton. "We're all kind of in the unknown right now about what that ballet is going to be like, but it's definitely an extravaganza." In October, as a side project, he is joining forces with the contemporary dance group I.aM.mE, winners of America's Best Dance Crew's sixth season, to perform in Huntsville and New York City. He also asserts, "You'll see me as the prince in The Nutcracker in December."

More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician Matthew Detrick, classical musician Travis Ammons, filmmaker Florence Garvey, actress Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist JoDee Engle, dancer David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor Jessica Janes, actress and musician Dennis Draper, actor and director Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist Adriana Soto, jewelry designer Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof Patrick Turk, visual artist Elizabeth Keel, playwright Bob Martin, designer Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer Jeremy Wells, painter George Brock, theater teacher Radu Runcanu, painter Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker Philip Hayes, actor Patrick Palmer, painter Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer John Tyson, actor Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music Laura Burlton, photographer David Peck, fashion designer Rebecca Udden, theater director Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer Paul Fredric, author John Sparagana, photographer Damon Smith, musician and visual artist Geoff Winningham, photographer Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor Katya Horner, photographer Johnathan Felton, artist Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer Carol Simmons, hair stylist Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet Greg Carter, director Kenn McLaughlin, theater director Justin Whitney, musician Antone Pham, tattoo artist Susie Silbert, crafts Lauralee Capelo, hair designer Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director J.J. Johnston, theater director Mary Margaret Hansen, artist Richard Tallent, photographer Viswa Subbaraman, opera director Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist Sonja Roesch, gallery owner Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor Sandy Ewen, musician Camella Clements, puppeteer Wade Wilson, gallery owner Magid Salmi, photographer Carl Williams, playwright


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