Jack Hawn, a PBT School student since 2012, has been recruited by Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr to join the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre company for its 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-2020. He’s no stranger to the PBT stage, however. Jack has performed in company productions of The Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland and, most recently, The Great Gatsby. He’s also a fixture in PBT School studios, providing piano accompaniment for School classes and writing original music for PBT School ballets. Get to know Jack here:
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Family: “I have a large extended family, three remarkable younger brothers, an endlessly supportive father and step-mother, and my mother, who passed away years ago, but is always with me.”
Pre-performance ritual: “Before a show, I like to listen to music while getting into makeup and costume. Then, I always try and spend a few quiet moments on stage or in the wings before the music starts to enjoy the anticipation and energy that makes performing so thrilling.”
Hobbies: “When comfortable weather comes around, I like to spend as much time as I can hiking and camping. I also like playing music, trying new styles on different instruments.”
Favorite food: “Anything my grandmother cooks. I grew up next door to my grandparents, which was a very impactful part of my childhood. For me, her food means home.”
Favorite musician/song: “It is very hard to choose just one! However, I’m a big fan of Dave Van Ronk, the enigmatic folksinger who ruled Greenwich Village in the ’60s.”
Ultimate dream role: “I would enjoy taking a stab at playing the antagonist – Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet or Espada in Don Quixote.”
Favorite role to date: “Portraying Lord Montague in Derek Deane’s Romeo and Juliet is a definite highlight.“
How do you think you’ve grown as an artist during your time in the PBT School Graduate Program? How has it prepared you for a professional position?
“The Graduate Program has offered me the opportunity to develop a solid technical foundation and an individual artistic voice, while gaining an understanding of the demands of dancing in the corps de ballet.”
Describe your ballet “epiphany” – the moment you knew this was what you wanted to do professionally.
“I cannot recall an exact moment, just a desire for as long as I can remember.”
What are some of your personal goals for your first season as a company dancer?
“I recognize how lucky I am to be in my position. I aim to remember that and enjoy the process and the hard work each day.”
What’s the most fulfilling thing about being a ballet dancer?
“Ballet is hard work and places hurdles often. Overcoming those obstacles and going on stage, where all that work becomes justified, brings me a great sense of satisfaction and joy.”
What are you most looking forward to dancing next season?
“I am looking forward to doing what I love, at a company that I love, with friends and colleagues that I love, in a city that I love.”
If I wasn’t a ballet dancer, I would be…
“A musician or composer. I’ve been able to work as an accompanist for ballet classes here at PBT for several years, and was lucky enough to compose original music for two ballets that were performed by PBT School.”