Samantha Klanac Campanile is a dancer with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and their most longstanding member. After 15 seasons, her final performances with ASFB will be Friday and Saturday, September 16 and 17, here in Dallas at City Performance Hall. We got to ask her a few questions about her impressive career and its upcoming finale. Below are some of our favorite quotes from the conversation.
“When I was a kid I was going to ballet and tap classes and I recognized some sort of passion inside me.”
“I’ve always loved Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Although I’m a ballet dancer, I love the numbers in those classic movie musicals.”
“My family moved around but my mom would always try to find the best ballet school.”
“My turnout was always criticized, and for classical ballet that can be pretty defeating. But you learn how to deal with – I don’t even want to say flaws, because you can make great things out of flaws. I joke that I’ve made a career out of all the bad things I do. So I struggled with my turnout, but I learned to excel at things outside the classical dance norm. No one is perfect.”
“ASFB has grown tremendously in all ways. When I first got here it was the first year we were touring a lot and doing big venues- and now that’s a staple. We got out there and created a presence in the dance world.”
“We’re a contemporary company but the classic lines are still there. We only do living choreographers, with a priority on newer works.”
“Dance is an evolving art form, so if you’re not creating new works and pushing it, it dies a little bit.”
“It’s intensely competitive, no doubt about it. There are more people who want to dance than jobs, especially jobs where you’re treated right. But my experience, and if you spoke to the other women in the company, is that we become each other’s best friends. You can be kind to each other and support each other or you can be miserable. It’s easier to be nice. Dance is hard enough, why make it harder?”
“My bridesmaids were my fellow dancers.”
“I look up to Tom and JP. (Tom Mossbrucker, Artistic Director, and Jean-Philippe Malaty, Executive Director of ASFB) I believe in their mission, what they built, their reasons for doing it, and the values and morals behind it. Professionally, I wouldn’t do anything without checking with them first.”
“It sounds disgusting, but I always use the same brush. It was my grandmother’s and it works the best. Recently, I left it at a theatre by accident and panicked and ended up having to fish it out of a dumpster! That might make me sound weird, but I’ve had that brush my entire career. So at this point I couldn’t do my final performances without that brush.”
“My final performance in Dallas is my husband’s and my five-year anniversary. And I have other personal goals in that realm, like starting a family. Dancing isn’t something you can turn off at 5:00. It’s been incredible to travel the world with my friends, but it’s time now for other things. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I feel very fulfilled.”
“I’ll probably be sobbing Saturday in Dallas! But it won’t be sadness. It’s because change is hard.”
“I will miss performing – that certain energy that’s transferred between an audience and a performer – I don’t know if I’ll ever find a replacement for that feeling.”
“Aspen and Santa Fe both have a sense of pride.”
“Dallas is… fresh. It seems like a young, vibrant place to be.”
“I want to mention my immense gratitude for being able to have this experience in my life. It’s overwhelming to look back, but I’m truly grateful and don’t know why I’ve been lucky enough to experience it.”
Samantha has originated roles in creations by Jorma Elo, Nicolo Fonte, and Cayetano Soto. Growing up in Buffalo, she trained at the American Academy of Ballet, The Chautauqua Institute, NYSSA, and the School of American Ballet. She began her college education at SUNY Purchase, but earned her BA in the arts from SUNY Empire State College.
Samantha and the rest of the “Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will perform September 16 and 17 in Dallas City Performance Hall. Get tickets here
Samantha will take over the Center’s Instagram account on Thursday, 9/15.