New Dancer Spotlight: Caitlyn Mendicino
Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr recruited Pittsburgh native Caitlyn Mendicino from PBT School’s Graduate Program, where she’s trained since 2016. She began ballet classes at PBT at age 4 and continued her training in Pittsburgh with Nicolas Petrov, PBT’s founding artistic director, and Mansur Kamelatdinov in 2007. She continued at the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh and went on to graduate from North Carolina School of the Arts. She danced as an apprentice with Charlotte Ballet for two years before joining the PBT School Graduate Program. She also has completed summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin and Boston Ballet among others. Mendicino has performed in PBT productions of Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Dracula, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland and Giselle. Her repertoire also includes The Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire, and Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie and The Four Temperaments. Get to know Caitlyn here.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tell us a little bit about your family: “My parents relocated not too long ago to Ohio, where my dad is a foot and ankle surgeon (very lucky for me). I have one older brother who will be starting his first year of law school in the fall. Besides that, my extended family still lives in Pittsburgh, and they are the best support system anyone could ask for.”
Pre-performance ritual: “If I am able to see into the audience before the show or during it, I always look for my dad. He is easy to spot with his grey hair. Seeing him and family in the audience gives me confidence and calms me down if I’m nervous.”
Hobbies outside dance: “I love photography, crocheting and baking (I make pretty good French Macarons).”
Favorite food: “Either my family’s homemade spaghetti sauce with cavatelli or popcorn.”
Favorite musician/song right now: “Fleetwood Mac is my favorite musical group, but my favorite song would be Norwegian Wood by the Beatles.”
Ultimate dream role: “Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.”
Favorite role to date: “Principal in first movement of George Balanchine’s Western Symphony.”
How have you grown as an artist during your time in the PBT School Graduate Program? How has it prepared you for a professional position?
“I think the graduate program has helped me become stronger not only in my ballet technique but also in my performance quality. I have had the opportunity to perform with the company a lot as a grad, which has enabled me to pick up choreography quickly and work on my stage presence. Having the opportunity to work with these professionals has helped me mature as a person, get out of my comfort zone as a dancer, and grow as an artist.”
Describe your ballet “epiphany” – the moment you knew this was what you wanted to do professionally
“There is one moment that I would describe as my epiphany. My last year at Charlotte Ballet I was performing The Sleeping Beauty pas de deux in the pre-professional showcase. Patricia McBride coached me on this role, teaching me the importance of giving your entire self when you dance as well as dancing from your heart. In that performance of The Sleeping Beauty I felt what she had taught me. It was such a wonderful experience and reassured me that ballet is what I wanted to do professionally.”
What are some of your personal goals for your first season as a company dancer?
“I want to work on my stage presence and artistry as a dancer. Those are two things that any dancer can always improve upon and grow throughout their entire careers.”
What’s the most fulfilling thing about being a ballet dancer?
“I would say that the most fulfilling thing about being a ballet dancer is the ability to inspire other people through my dancing. I know that when I was little, going to performances of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre inspired me to become a ballet dancer. I love that I could possibly inspire someone like 4-year-old me to pursue their dreams.”
What are you most looking forward to dancing next season?
“I’m definitely excited for Mozart in Motion, but I am also looking forward to The Sleeping Beauty because it is my favorite classical ballet.”
If I wasn’t a ballet dancer, I would be…
“I think I would be in the medical field, either a nurse or a doctor. I would want to do something that helps people and being in medicine would definitely accomplish this.”