Josiah Kauffman, PBT’s sixth new dancer for 2019-2020, didn’t have an easy path to his professional career. But it was injury that cemented ballet as his passion. Get to know Josiah:
Hometown: Belgrade, Montana
Family: “I have a dad and mom, a little brother and a little sister, a pug, and a cat. I love them all and I miss them a lot.”
Pre-performance ritual: “I spend some time in prayer and listen to music to get me pumped.”
Hobbies: “I love playing all sorts of instruments (guitar and mandolin). I also really enjoy playing chess.”
Favorite food: “Cheeseburgers!”
Favorite musician/song: “Rend Collective.”
Ultimate dream role: “Spartacus!”
Favorite role to date: “I got to play Basilio in Don Quixote at my school in Indiana this last spring.”
How do you think you’ve grown as an artist during your training? How has it prepared you for a professional position?
“My teachers, [former PBT dancer] Robert Moore and Pollyana Ribeiro really emphasized dancing with artistry instead of just doing the steps for the steps. Growing up in a competition studio in my earlier years, I always thought choreography had to be trick-heavy and explosive to impress an audience. After switching to classical ballet, I learned that putting my heart and soul into choreography can be a lot more moving than just pulling off heavy tricks.”
Describe your ballet “epiphany” – the moment you knew this was what you wanted to do professionally.
“When I was 14 years old, I had a medical scare. The doctors told me I had fractured my C-4 vertebrae and I could be paralyzed from the neck down with too much movement – dancing was pretty much off the table. Being faced with the possibility of never dancing again, I realized what a crucial part of my life it was. Thankfully, they found that I only had a minor fracture and was able to continue my training.”
What are some of your personal goals for your first season as a company dancer?
“My goal is to grow more as a dancer and a performer.”
What’s the most fulfilling thing about being a ballet dancer?
“Striving for perfection is the most fulfilling thing for me. I like a challenge.”
What are you most looking forward to next season?
“Being able to dance and perform with professionals on a regular basis is something I am really looking forward to and I’m excited to see more growth in my abilities.”
If I wasn’t a ballet dancer, I would be…
“I like to work with my hands, so I’d probably build houses or do something with music.”