Five Questions for Amy Fote of Ballet San Antonio

IMAGE ABOVE: Ian Casady and Amy Fote in Houston Ballet’s production of William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Ian Casady and Amy Fote in Houston Ballet's production James Kudelka's Little Dancer. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Ian Casady and Amy Fote in Houston Ballet’s production James Kudelka’s Little Dancer. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Amy Fote, former principal of Houston Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet, has joined the artistic staff of Ballet San Antonio. The young troupe moves into the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts with a season that includes Dracula, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and a program of all Balanchine works. Fote, known for her exquisite technique and convincing acting,  retired from Houston Ballet 2012 after a stellar career. She visited with A + C editor in chief Nancy Wozny on her new role and her move back to Texas.

Arts + Culture TX: I’m not surprised at all that you are moving into the Ballet Mistress role. Over the years, so you have said so many things to me about your own approach to a role that could be so valuable to a new generation of dancers. You could make an enormous impact on this young company.

Amy Fote: At this moment, I can only envision what the transition from wearing pointe shoes every day to donning those of a Ballet Mistress will be like. This step for me seems like a natural progression, as I feel that I have a lot to offer and share from all that I have experienced and attained from throughout my years as a professional dancer.

A + C:  You are a woman of many talents and interests. I was slightly worried that you would leave the field.

Amy Fote in Houston Ballet’s production of Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Amy Fote in Houston Ballet’s production of Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

AF: This art form has always been a part of me and, although I enjoy exploring other interests, I always find my way back to this amazing world.  Unlike any other, it is what gets me up in the morning and being in the studio is where I feel most alive! I have been fortunate to have worked with, and been inspired by, such incredible teachers, coaches and mentors, all of whom have shaped me. In this new phase of my career, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share and communicate with each dancer these jewels of knowledge and give in a way that I imagine will be quite fulfilling; fulfilling in a different way than I knew as a dancer, where endless moments were spent focusing on my own technique and artistry.

A + C: Can you talk about your approach to coaching?

AF: As a coach, the thought of presenting new ways to look at a meaning for doing a step or movement with a certain dynamic can be a wonderful process. In working and exploring in this way, I hope to enrich the dancers thoughts as well as the audience’s experience. That fact that a single step can be interpreted in so many ways makes this art form incredible. It is about finding that artistic choice and voice that speaks…and sometimes whispers. This is only a glimpse of what makes dance a beautiful existence.

A + C: You missed Texas, right?

Amy Fote and Andrew Murphy in Houston Ballet's production of James Cranko's Onegin. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Amy Fote and Andrew Murphy in Houston Ballet’s production of James Cranko’s Onegin. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

AF: Wisconsin is a beautiful state, and although my family and so many that I love are there, I am very much looking forward to being back in Texas. I spent the latter half of my career living in Texas and found the people to be very warm and gracious. Opportunities are abundant and the climate agrees with me too! I would much rather endure heat and humidity for a few months than the bitter relentless cold that at times can seem unending. I’m looking forward to exploring San Antonio and all the city has to offer.

A + C: Any thoughts about your new home?

AF: The fact that the Tobin Center was built shows the demand for art in San Antonio. Culture is important to an ever evolving community, and in this new home, BSA is sure to place its mark among the city’s vibrant art scene. I look forward to witnessing this growth and plan to invest myself in helping to develop a strong foundation for this flourishing organization.