Noelani Pantastico is from Oahu, Hawaii. She trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and attended summer courses at Pacific Northwest Ballet School from 1994 to 1996. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1997. She was promoted to corps de ballet in 1998, soloist in 2001, and principal in 2004. In 2008, she left PNB to join Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo as a soloist and was promoted to first soloist in 2009. In 2015, Ms. Pantastico returned to PNB as a principal dancer.
What inspires you to dance?
It doesn’t take much to inspire me. The older I get the more I want to enjoy and make the most of the art form. I really have been diving whole-heartedly into every repertoire we are working on at the moment. And if the inspiration is not there for some reason or another, I search for it. I watch videos, read, look at art… Inspiration is literally everywhere if you open your eyes.
What does a typical weekend look like for you?
Oh, it’s different every weekend, but I try to get out a bit. Maybe I’ll go see a show one night or have dinner with a friend another. I use one day to take care of whatever ails me, by getting a massage or another treatment. I also take some time to prepare for the week ahead, by doing chores. Skype also takes up a lot of my time, as I stay connected with friends and family!
What is your most embarrassing story in rehearsal/on stage at PNB?
There are so many, but the one that still makes me cringe is when I did the Spring Fairy in Cinderella. It was one of my first opportunities at PNB, so I was quite excited. I was so excited that for one of my performances I entered to do my variation at the wrong moment. I suddenly realized when the conductor looked at me funny and then I heard footsteps behind as the next solo was about to begin – ugh! It still makes me cringe. I gracefully presented the girl behind me and went off stage until it was my turn.
Do you have a performance ritual?
Yes, I think most dancers do. First I try to make sure I’ve finished eating around 3 hours before the show. I like to feel comfortable before a show – not full or not hungry! Then I usually get to the theater around 2 hours prior (sometimes less, depending on what I am dancing that performance). First, I change into warm-ups and tape my toes. After that, I do my makeup and then hair. Usually in that order. Then, I do a good stretch, figure out my Pointe shoes and go to warm up. It’s not such a crazy ritual, but that’s what helps me feel prepared and comfortable.
Top three most important items in your dance bag?
- Toe tape – shurtape CP66 to be specific. I’ve used it for as long as I can remember. Nothing works better! It stays put and lasts a long time.
- Balls – I have tennis balls, bouncy balls, Toys-R-Us balls. Each for different parts of my body that may need some extra care and attention from time to time
- My blender bottle – At some point in the day, I blend a protein shake. I also use it to add things like magnesium to my water, or just as a water bottle. I am constantly hydrating.
Noelani in the beloved Romeo et Juliette from 2007 to 2016
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Featured photo: Noelani Pantastico and Seth Orza in Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Photo by Lindsay Thomas.