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."
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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."
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