Shale Wagman in 'Halfway to nowhere' © Wilfried Hösl

SHALE WAGMAN: My European dream

Interview from our Winter issue 101 Dec,/Jan. 

The Toronto-born soloist of the Bavarian State Ballet has always felt energetically connected to Europe and its culture. “There’s a lot of ballet culture here”, he says. Now, after spending the first phase of the pandemic in Canada due to an injury, he is back and he intends to stay. Alessandro Bizzotto spoke to him about his obsession with Russian dancers, dance role models and social media, and found out why he didn’t always miss Canada and why he saw a sports psychologist

Shale Wagman joined the Bavarian State Ballet as a soloist last spring: the Toronto-born dancer is 21 and many would say that, as a part of a new generation of promising talent, he already has quite a cv.

After winning the Youth America Grand Prix and moving to Europe to study in Monte Carlo at the Princess Grace Academy, he won the Best Young Talent Award at the Prix de Lausanne in 2018 and the following year he became the youngest dancer ever invited to dance a leading role at the Mariinsky, performing James in “La Sylphide”.

We start talking via WhatsApp at dinner time. It is November the 1st, Halloween euphoria is fading and, as often happens with interviews done at the end of the day, the conversation starts slowly as we focus on his school years and his early decision to move to Monte Carlo.

Shale Wagman in ‘Paradigma – Bedroom Folk’ © M. L. Briane

Why did you leave Canada while still so young?

I have always known from a very young age that dance was my destiny. It was necessary for me to go to a ballet school abroad – I have always been interested in European culture. There’s a lot of ballet culture in Europe, and I have always felt energetically connected to this! So, I guess I just wanted…

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