A Blythe Coach

Podcast #50: Interview with Mentor Virginia Holte, bringing ballet to the Big Island of Hawaii

For nearly a year, the A Blythe Coach podcast has consisted of weekly bite-sized insights on dance, yoga, well-being, creativity, and joy! But, to celebrate the 50th episode of my podcast, I’ve decided to share a special longer-form (1-hour) interview, kicking off a regular interview series to be interspersed with my solo episodes.

I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my mentors, the teacher who first taught me to dance and has inspired me in so many ways, Virginia Holte. In this conversation we discussed her history as a dancer and dance educator, current projects, teaching in pandemic, and her positive approach to life.

Virginia Holte is the Founder and Artistic Director of the West Hawaii Dance Theatre and recently founded a new, project-based outreach, Maui Ballet. A Graduate of the Academy of the Washington Ballet under the late Mary Day, Ms. Holte enjoyed a long professional dance career with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, Chicago Ballet, Washington Ballet and various guest appearances with Ballet Internationale, New Jersey Ballet, and Indiana Ballet Theatre N.W. A Third Series practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga, certified in the Pilates Method, Mat and Equipment from the Physical Mind Institute, Ms. Holte is an International Certified GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® Specialized Master Trainer. She has been sharing her love of ballet and movement with the Hawaii community since 1986.

Podcast 50 Interview on Spotify

(or wherever you listen to podcasts)

Podcast #50 is an interview with Virginia Holte, founder of West Hawai’i Dance Theatre

Podcast 50 Video on YouTube

We recorded the podcast on Zoom, so it is also available on video on YouTube 🙂

Topics & Video Time Stamps

:54 Ms. Virginia’s Bio
2:00 WHDT Mission
2:39 Guten Morgen! Time Zone fun, class with Hillary Cartwright of the Royal Ballet, co-creator of Gyrokinesis
3:55 Ballet as first and only career desire, growing up in the cornfields of Indiana, Cecchetti Ballet Technique is a great base, Ballet coloring books
5:45 “I can’t wait to go to ballet class!” Communicating through dance
6:35 Tutus & Pointe Shoes inspiring as a child
7:10 Wanda Tamasi trained her in Cecchetti Technique for 5 years
7:45 Boarding school for high school at Washington School of Ballet
7:52 “Expanding your spirit and really physically embodying ​the arts
8:12 Ballet in Kona since 1986
First group of students: Miho & Maki Morinoe, Ellen Carlson, Maile Clark (Lit Candles), Graduate outcomes with Complexions, Boston Ballet, Recent student at Walnut Hill
9:55 My experience at NCSA
10:25 Conservatory vs. studio training
11:05 Gyrotonic Expansion System, international dance/movement community
11:37 What brought her to Hawai’i (weather in January after “Nutcracker” touring)
13:08 Dance scene on O’ahu, Ballet Hawai’i, Alaine Haubert, ABT
13:34 Life as a bus-touring ballet dancer
13:50 Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, Chicago Ballet, Washington Ballet
14:05 Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, pioneering efforts, hands-on stagecraft
15:50 Aloha Theatre
17:35 Opening WHDT
17:50 The beauty of ballet, “You gotta follow your heart, if you don’t do that then you’re not a happy person!”
18:40 Positive mindset
19:20 Dealing with roadblocks to creation, managing personal differences, Law of Attraction
20:40 “Make it up and don’t give up.” Funding and grant-writing.
23:55 Nonprofit status
25:00 Importance of a bookkeeper (Gudrun) and graphic designer (Joey) to business, professional presentation
26:25 Unchanging mission statement of WHDT
27:26 A Blythe Coach, interdisciplinary work
27:52 Focus on the whole person at WHDT, Yoga, Pilates Method
28:56 Gyrokinesis, Julio Horvath, importance of Breath
30:38 Lifelong learning, bringing more to the table, helping students find their own directions
32:36 Quinn Wharton, SF Ballet, Hubbard Street, photography, cinematography
33:45 “Jungle Book” Ballet choreographed by Timour Bourtasenkov, Cary Ballet, transition to video project at WHDT in 2021, mentoring students, underserved populations
35:48 Opening doors to careers in dance, weaving in Hawaiian mythology, Big Island ideal setting, bringing professional alumni back
37:13 Post:ballet contemporary ballet films: “Waltz of the Snowflakes,” “Swan Lake,” Whim W’him, new experiences in dance film
39:28 Maui Ballet, “Don Quixote,” Logo & Website by Joey Ann Marshall
44:20 Online teaching, Henry Berg, early webcams & Skype 
45:50 Teaching dance online during pandemic, Zoom & music set-up, live piano music
48:55 Sending out Marley flooring to students, portable dance flooring rolls
49:46 YAGP, access to ballet competitions during COVID, Prix de Lausanne
52:35 Hybrid teaching (online and in-person), serving students in remote areas
53:23 “Isn’t life always so exciting?” Learning experiences, it will always pass, positive mindset, don’t hold on to anything negative
55:26 Language learning, living long as a dancer, doing what you love

It was so delightful to catch up with Virginia, and I learned so much about interviewing for the podcast from this experience, thanks so much for taking the time and being willing to be the first 🙂

Ms. Virginia’s Current Projects

West Hawaii Dance Theatre https://whdt.org/ (“Jungle Book”)
Maui Ballet www.mauiballet.org (“Don Quixote”)

Dance Company names dropped (alphabetical)

American Ballet Theatre https://www.abt.org/
Boston Ballet https://www.bostonballet.org/home.aspx
Carolina Ballet https://www.carolinaballet.com/
Complexions Contemporary Ballet https://www.complexionsdance.org/
Hubbard Street Dance https://www.hubbardstreetdance.com/
Indianapolis Ballet Theatre company https://www.indyballet.org/
New Jersey Ballet https://www.njballet.org/
Post:ballet dance company https://www.postballet.org/
Royal Ballet https://www.roh.org.uk/about/the-royal-ballet
San Francisco Ballet https://www.sfballet.org/
Washington Ballet https://www.washingtonballet.org/
Whim W’him dance company https://www.whimwhim.org/

Ballet Conservatories in conversation

The Washington School of Ballet https://www.washingtonballet.org/about-twsb/
North Carolina School of the Arts https://www.uncsa.edu/
Walnut Hill School for the Arts https://www.walnuthillarts.org/
Cary Ballet Conservatory https://www.caryballet.com/
Zurich Ballet https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/about-us/ballett-zuerich/ 

Dance Competitions discussed

Youth America Grand Prix dance competition https://yagp.org/
Prix de Lausanne https://www.prixdelausanne.org/

Other Movement Modalities mentioned

Pilates Method https://www.pilatesmethodalliance.org/
Physical Mind Institute (Pilates) https://www.physicalmindinstitute.com/ 
Gyrotonic Expansion System https://whigyrotonic.com/
Ashtanga Yoga https://www.ashtangayoga.info/

Dancers, movers, and other people (in order of mention)

Hillary Cartwright
Wanda Tamasi
Alaine Haubert
Miho Morinoe
Maki Morinoe
Ellen Carlson
Maile Clark
Rene Damron
Quinn Wharton
Timour Bourtasenkov
Juliu Horvath
Marisa Montany
Joey Ann Marshall (Graphic Design)
Gudrun Baumgaertl, PhD
Henry Berg
Megumi Kopp
Twyla Tharp

What do you think of having interviews interspersed on the podcast to share their knowledge about dance, movement, and living a luscious life?

Blythe Stephens, MFA
she/her or they/them
A Blythe Coach: Dance Education & Coaching 
move through life with balance, grace, & power

1 thought on “Podcast #50: Interview with Mentor Virginia Holte, bringing ballet to the Big Island of Hawaii

  1. Pingback: Reflecting on 2021 - glows, what's so, grows, & what's next | A Blythe Coach

Comments are closed.

WordPress Cookie Plugin by Real Cookie Banner