Meet PNB’s Newest Company Dancers!

PNB is excited to introduce you to our newest company dancers, Kali Kleiman, Emerson Boll, and Samuel Portillo. These three dancers joined PNB’s Company just this season! Get to know each artist a little better in the brief interviews below.

Kali Kleiman – Corps de Ballet

PNB dancer Kali Kleiman

You created your own podcast in 2020 called “Get To The Pointe.” What inspired you to explore the medium of podcasting?

When I got into the podcasting space, it was right in the height of Covid. The entire world shut down. Suddenly my ballet classes were now on Zoom. I converted a small space in my house into a place where I could continue dancing.  Adding a small square of Marley and Barre was all that could fit. I and many other dancers didn’t know what dance was going to look like. We didn’t know if there would be jobs. We didn’t know what auditioning was going to look like. All these questions sparked a thought. What if I started a podcast talking about all of these things as I’m going through them? At the time there were no other dance podcasts for young adults talking about auditioning. I needed that resource. So when I couldn’t find it, I decided to be it. I’ve since taken a few years off of my podcast. I am excited to return to the podcast realm with a fresh set of new experiences to share.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about dancing professionally?

Someone once told me, “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle.” They told me this as I was going through audition season. For dancers, this season of life is so challenging. The unknown of “what could be.” In moments of insecurity, I would be reminded “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle.” If I could make it five more minutes I’d be ok. Once those five minutes were over, I could make it another five. Hope is a magical thing. It gives us strength to keep going.

You moved to Seattle just this past summer! Have you discovered some favorite Seattle spots?

I’ve got a few favorite spots! Of course, Kerry Park, and Discovery Park are all-time favorites. Before it got cold I took my puppy to Discovery Park and he loved it. Seeing him see in the sand for the first time was adorable. He’s a dachshund and has little legs. So seeing him run on the sand was quite funny.

Emerson Boll – Apprentice

What’s your favorite ballet and why? 

That’s a tough question because I have so many favorite ballets! If I had to choose just one, I would say George Balanchine’s Serenade. I love the combination of the music and the costumes with the excitement of the choreography. It’s just such a beautiful ballet to watch. It also holds some sentimental value to me because it was the ballet we worked on in my last year as a Professional Division student, so it really feels to me like a culmination of all the years I’ve danced at PNB before graduating to then join the company here. It is definitely a ballet that is really close to my heart!

What music are you listening to these days?

My music taste is all over the place. First, I love anything Taylor Swift. I love any song that I can blast in the car with my friends! Also, this is going to make me sound like a total bunhead, but I love listening to music from my favorite ballets. Specifically, music from Allegro Brilliante or The Seasons’ Canon, and the Romeo and Juliette Balcony Pas de Deux is frequently playing in my airpods.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about dancing professionally?

I think the best advice I’ve received about dancing professionally is something that my dad always tells me. He likes to remind me to always stay humble and true to who I am. I am joining a company where I have been watching some of the dancers here since I first got to PNB as a 10-year-old. There are SO many talented and inspiring dancers in the room as well as amazing teachers and rehearsal directors I can learn from.  At the same time, I want to always remember my days as a student in PNB School and in the Professional Division, and hope to be a good example and someone you can look up to for dancers following similar paths as me.

Samuel Portillo – Apprentice

What’s your favorite way to relax when you’re not dancing?

My favorite way to relax when I’m not dancing is to watch movies! I like all kinds of movies, but sci-fi movies are my favorite.

What are you looking forward to the most this season at PNB?

I’m looking forward to The Seasons’ Canon the most this season, I got to be a part of it last year at PNB as a PD, and it was an amazing experience. It’s a very special piece and one I’m very excited to dance again.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about dancing professionally?

The best piece of advice I’ve gotten about dancing professionally is to remember to breathe and take deep breaths! It sounds simple, but focusing on breathing helps me relax, especially when performing or doing a stressful dance, and I end up feeling more confident dancing.

Please join us in congratulating each of these dancers, and warmly welcome them in the comments below!

Photo credits: Featured photo – Dancer headshots, photos © Lindsay Thomas. Kali Kleiman, photo © Angela Sterling. Kali Kleiman and PNB Company dancers in rehearsal, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Photo of Kali’s dog, courtesy of Kali Kleiman. Emerson Boll, photo © Angela Sterling. Emerson Boll in Bruce Well’s Snow White, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Samuel Portillo, photo © Angela Sterling. Samuel Portillo, photo © Dan Lao.