Conversing with Craig Salstein can be exhausting. He is a fiery presence on stage at American Ballet Theatre – as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, the Bronze Idol and the Head Fakir in Bayadère, Puck in The Dream, the traitor Birbanto in Corsaire, the Champion Roper in Rodeo, the first sailor in Fancy Free. Off stage, he burns just as intensely.
He often teaches ABT’s company class – a gig he fell into almost by accident. He would put himself through a warm-up in the mornings and found many of the dancers gravitating to his routine. “His energy really gets you going,” says one. The pace of his class is relentless and the dancers relish the challenges he throws at them. “Do you know how hard it is to get men to do adagio?” he groans. He has no time for inspirational talk: “There really is no magic in ballet. You need to do those Italian fouettés everyday or you’ll never dance Dryad Queen.”
Passionate on many subjects, including opera, Camus and Kierkegaard, he has lately channeled his zeal into carving a new niche for fellow dancers. Read more about what this indefatigable dancer is up to in our piece on the Huffington Post.