Magazine article Pointe

Philip Martin-Nielson

Magazine article Pointe

Philip Martin-Nielson

Article excerpt

Not every male dancer gets to take on roles like Swan ¿«Are's Odette, and Giannina in a restaging of Jules Perrot's The Naiad and the Fisherman. But Philip Martin-Nielson isn't your typical performer.

Martin-Nielson is a leading dancer with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male troupe famous for its parodies of traditional ballets. Quite an accomplishment for someone who was once told he would never be capable of taking care of himself or living on his own.

Although you'd never know it by talking to him or watching him dance, MartinNielson has one of the most severe forms of autism. Diagnosed at age 3, he was unable to maintain eye contact or communicate and couldn't bear to be touched.

But as he memorized and performed the dances he saw on "Barney and Friends," he discovered that he could express himself through dance. After years of him begging, his mother signed him up for his first ballet class at age 6.

His focus and attention during classes were qualities his mother had never seen before. She knew this was something he had to keep doing. With the help of his teachers. Martin-Nielson learned to carry the discipline he had acquired from ballet over into his academics and day-to-day life. His speech, reading and social skills improved dramatically, and he learned various social cues through movement and observing others in the studio.

"I was always teased and bullied for being different," Martin-Nielson says. "But, when I was in a ballet class, the bullying, the teasing, the hurt feelings, none ofthat mattered."

Teachers at his hometown dance studio in Cornwall. New York, thought his slight build, expressive presence and comedic flair were a perfect fit for the Trocks, so they introduced him to pointe at age 12.

It was Halloween. Martin-Nielson recalls. Armed with a pair of pointe shoes and a tutu, he walked into his first pointe class. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.