Magazine article Pointe

Flying High

Magazine article Pointe

Flying High

Article excerpt

San Francisco Ballet's Isaac Hernández soars with confidence and exuberance

Isaac Hernández found himself onstage at San Francisco Ballet's opening gala last January partnering Tina LeBlanc in Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Although Hernández was merely a member of the corps, LeBlanc had requested him as a partner. The partnering was serviceable, but Hernandez's aerial trajectory was astonishing. Critics left talking about him.

Hernández, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, is pursuing his career at warp speed. He joined SFB only last summer. True, he spent his share of evenings in the corps this past season, but he also performed major roles. You couldn't miss his neo-Bolshoi male duet in Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour, or his man in violet twisting exuberantly in the air in Alexei Ratmansky's Russian Seasons. Hernández musters an impressive jump, high-velocity turns, a tapered line and a kind of self-deprecating confidence. For a debut season with a professional company, no dancer could ask for more.

And he has already made a favorable impression on the company's artistic staff. "Isaac is a product of good training, and he comes across in class as poised and dedicated," says Ballet Master Ricardo Bustamante. "He's a good fit for SFB's diverse repertoire."

Hernandez's gifts had already gained attention in the ballet world. It was his father. Hector (a former member of Dance Theatre of Harlem), who introduced him to ballet at age 9 via lessons in the family's backyard. Three years later, Isaac enrolled at Philadelphia's The Rock School and attracted global attention in 2006 when he won both the gold medal (junior division) and the Ballet International Award at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.

Life on the competition circuit treated Hernández well. He thrived in the environment. "I was at that point when I needed the challenge, the pressure to become better," he says. …

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