On the Rise: Giuseppe Bausilio
In Broadway's CATS, Giuseppe Bausilio exploded across the stage as the wild and rascally Carbucketty. With fiery exuberance, he transformed steps into drama, songs into lullabies, dosing out magic with his sheer joy of performing. He recently left his cat suit behind to join his fifth Broadway show, Hello, Dolly! Though he's only 19, he makes dreams like "originating a leading role on Broadway" sound possible.
Broadway shows: Currently in Hello, Dolly!, starting previews this month. Past shows include CATS, Aladdin, Newsies and Billy Elliot.
Television: Plays Alfie, a dancer and runaway prince, in Season 4 of "The Next Step," a Canadian teen drama about an ultra-competitive dance team
Hometown: Bern, Switzerland
Training: Began studying ballet at age 4 at his parents' school, American Swiss Ballet, in Bern and New York City
Accolades: Youth America Grand Prix silver and bronze medals, junior division; additional awards from competitions in France and Italy
Photo by Nathan Sayers
Special sauce: Bausilio credits his family for where he is today. His parents were both professional dancers and his older brother, Yannick Bittencourt, is a dancer at the Paris Opéra Ballet. "They taught me how to be a professional at a very young age," he says. "I take a ballet class every morning."
A little luck and lots of hard work: While at YAGP, a casting director spotted Bausilio and asked him to audition for the role of Billy Elliot. He barely spoke English and his only training had been ballet. Bausilio spent the summer speed-learning tap, hip hop, gymnastics and singing. "I nodded a lot and pretty much said yes to everything." It paid off. He got the role and spent two years playing Billy Elliot on tour, in Chicago and on Broadway.
An unexpected curve: Three months into CATS, Bausilio's back gave out. Doctors found a rare vascular tumor in his spinal canal and removed it during a six-hour surgery. "I think this was kind of a sign telling me, 'Giuseppe, you've got to breathe for a second.' "
"Every choreographer in NYC will be fighting over the chance
to have Giuseppe in the trenches with us!" —Andy Blankenbuehler
Bouncing back: Bausilio was out of CATS for 15 weeks and used the downtime to work on his upcoming EP and a one-man cabaret show—he's also a singer/songwriter and plays guitar and keyboard.
What Andy Blankenbuehler is saying: "Giuseppe has impeccable dance technique. He sings like a bird and is a pro at creating a character through his performing," says the CATS choreographer. "But his passion is what makes him a standout. He has a generosity of the heart that touches everyone onstage and in the audience."
What's next: The ensemble of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler. "It's insane, the people I get to work with," Bausilio says, and chants a litany of names: "Warren Carlyle, the choreographer, Jerry Zaks, multiple Tony Award–winning Broadway director. Amazing people, legends! I think I've used the words 'insane' and 'crazy' about a hundred times in this past hour. But that's really what my life has been."
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.