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Photo: Patrick Frenette.

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It takes more than pliés to lift a ballet company to great heights. From dancers to conductors, teachers to makeup artists, this series features fascinating insight from ABT experts and an intimate look inside America’s National Ballet Company®. Take a spot at the SideBarre to get to know the incredible people behind each bourrée of American Ballet Theatre.

Posts in: My Secret TalentView All Posts
January 6, 2021
In addition to being a professional dancer, ABT corps de ballet member Javier Rivet is also a talented artist!

"I decided to start drawing my dancing peers. I am lucky enough to have a job where I am surrounded by constant inspiration."

By Javier Rivet

Examples of Javier Rivet's artwork.
Examples of Javier Rivet's artwork.

Christmas of 2008, when I was nine years old, my school in Madrid organized a competition for students to submit Christmas cards with original holiday-themed drawings on them. On a whim, I decided to give it a go. Being a Disney fanatic, I submitted a drawing of Tinker Bell donning a custom Santa outfit. The school loved my work and chose it as the winner.

With a newly discovered talent and a spark of motivation, I began drawing and doodling more often and even started entering other art competitions. However, upon deciding to become more serious about ballet as a career, my passion for drawing was put on the back-burner.

Illustration by Javier Rivet.
Illustration by Javier Rivet.

Fast forward to 2019: I am living in New York City, on my own, with a job as a corps de ballet member with American Ballet Theatre. During a visit with one of my old friends from Madrid, who was working as an apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet, I met another PA Ballet dancer, Jack, who would soon become my boyfriend. During our first week getting to know each other, we decided it might be fun to use a spare canvas and create a painting together.

I showed him some of the drawings I had made, and he encouraged me to continue honing a skill I had almost forgotten I loved so much. I started working with different media and studying new techniques in an attempt to develop a personal style that I liked.

Fast forward another year and we find ourselves in a global pandemic with lots and LOTS of time on our hands. Now motivated by boredom, I decided to purchase a new iPad and iPencil to try my hand at creating drawings and illustrations virtually. Since ballet is my first passion, and I am lucky enough to have a job where I am surrounded by constant inspiration, I decided to start drawing my dancing peers. I even created a separate Instagram account to show all my art to friends, co-workers, and potential buyers.

My goal for the future is to continue to perfect a unique style that sets me apart and create works that everyone can enjoy. I am so grateful for all the positive feedback I have been getting, and I am excited to see where this new adventure takes me.

Posting on social media can feel kind of daunting sometimes, especially if it is something so personal. Sometimes this leads me to undervalue my work and experience lower self-esteem. Since deciding to be more open and to share with the world a new part of myself, my confidence has grown, and I have become a happier and more fulfilled person.

Javier has been a member of the corps de ballet since 2018.

<i>ABT Kitchen</i> cover artwork by Javier Rivet.
ABT Kitchen cover artwork by Javier Rivet.

Javier’s illustrations are featured in ABT Kitchen, our new digital cookbook featuring recipes from individuals in the ABT community!