Noelani Pantastico is alive and well — and thriving in Monte Carlo. Ms. Pantastico has been with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo in Monaco since last summer (see also my guest blog at and also my feature in Dance Magazine, “From Dance to Danse,” January 2009).

When I spoke to Ms. Pantastico from Italy this week, I asked her what was different than expected. Her reply? The main difference is that she’s joined a company that tours – a lot. The company has been on six tours this year, and left for a seventh tour this week.  There will be six more tours this season, including Spain and Israel.  One of the hardest things for the ballerina was getting into some kind of regular daily rhythm, especially with sleep.

What’s her rep been like so far? Says Noe: “Lots of Maillot!  For me it’s a transition year, so it’s a LOT of learning the repertoire.“

Noe had hoped that one of the biggest plusses at Monte Carlo would be the coaching. She first worked with Bernice Coppieters (company Etoile) and Gaby Baars (ballet master) in Seattle.   Says Noe: “What I experienced from these two was bliss then.  I knew that I wanted to continue that coaching, and that is what helped me to decide to join the company here.  I am blessed to work with Bernice on a daily basis and watch her dance.  She has mastered Maillot’s vision, along with helping create it.  I have been fortunate enough to work with her again this past year on Jean-Christophe’s La Belle.”

Ms. Pantastico’s partner, the dance writer Brady Hartley, together with Isabelle Ricard (Directrice de Communication at Les Ballets de Monte Carlo) kindly escorted me around the Beausoleil studios last week. Overwhelming, is the best word I can find to describe the artistic atmosphere.  I couldn’t imagine a more productive place, for a young artist.

Ms. Pantastico adds: “Sure, I’ve sacrificed some things, but [with the exposure to new work] look at what I’ve gained.”

Nothing less than, the world.

Noe Pantastico, with dancers in Paris
Noe Pantastico, relaxing in Paris (with other dancers, not shown)

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