On the Rise: Ana Calderón

September 30, 2015

Ana Calderón’s elastic extensions, supple spine and earthy yet daring dancing are enough to catch your eye. Add in her fire in ballets like Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat, combined with her magnetic stage presence and exactitude, and the former Houston Ballet corps member becomes even more captivating. Now, the Spanish dancer begins the next chapter of her career, joining Pennsylvania Ballet’s corps this season.

Calderón, here in Jardi Tancat, finds Corella’s optimism contagious. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy Houston Ballet.


: Pennsylvania Ballet

: 31

: Madrid, Spain

: Royal Conservatory of Professional Dance of Madrid

: 2004 Grand Prize from the Princess Grace Foundation of Monaco

Spanish beginnings
: While studying in Madrid, Calderón had the opportunity to dance many of Duato’s works. After a stint with Zurich Ballet, she performed with Angel Corella and Friends from 2007 to 2008, and joined Corella’s Barcelona Ballet soon after that.

Breakout moment
: Calderón was promoted to soloist at Barcelona Ballet in 2010. “That was the first time I had the opportunity to dance solo roles,” she says, citing Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Le Corsaire Suite and the lead role in Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII as Anne Boleyn.

Growth in the Lone Star State
: When the Spanish government pulled the funding for Barcelona Ballet, Houston Ballet welcomed her mid-season. During her two and a half seasons in Texas, Calderón says working with HB’s artistic director, Stanton Welch, helped her with her acting. “He focuses on what we are doing with our whole bodies, including our face, to tell the story.”

Career moves
: Making the jump to PAB is both an adventure and a return to the familiar, as she will be working under Corella again. “He quickly discovers my qualities, good and bad,” she says, “and he has a way of reinforcing strengths while at the same time fixing the problems.” She’s also glad to be moving closer to New York City, where her husband works. “Now we will see each other every week.”

What Corella is saying
: Corella is thrilled to have one of his muses back under his roof. “Ana surprises me at every single show,” he says. “She has great energy onstage.”

What’s next
: Calderón is excited by the PAB repertoire, which includes works by Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett and Justin Peck, three choreographers who are new to her. Plus, “Angel is doing a new Don Quixote. I have studied flamenco and Spanish dancing, so I am looking forward to the character roles.”