Graduating from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and securing a soloist position with the American Ballet Theatre both could be considered pinnacles of anyone’s ballet career.
Yet, both prestigious accomplishments seem to be just the beginning for Gabe Stone Shayer, who is on his way to becoming one of the more well-known male dancers in the classical ballet community.
Since age 11, he’s performed around the world and in all sorts of roles. He’s trained with some of the biggest names in ballet and performed alongside other highly-talented dancers such as Misty Copeland.
The awards, recognition, and honors never seem to slow down, including first place for Best Male Dancer from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, the Grand Prix Award from the Youth America Grand Prix, the largest international student ballet network, and a variety of scholarships from various ballet companies and training programs.
Gabe Stone Shayer is part of a small group of males in this profession and an even smaller group of male African-Americans. In fact, he was the first African-American to graduate from the elite Boshoi Ballet Academy
But the Philadelphia native would prefer that the public know and appreciate him for his drive, dedication to the craft, and his abilities rather than gender and race.
After all, he has pushed himself to be the best. Being the best meant working long hours and pushing himself mentally and physically day in and day out. Unfortunately, the harsh life of someone in training also meant enduring bullies’ taunts who felt boys shouldn’t do ballet and other stereotypes that male dancers are supposed to be weak and feminine.
He said the world needs to know that all dancers, male and female, are stronger than many people realize. Shayer admits there were times where he felt “overworked and overused” without a lot to show for it, but all of those dedicated hours are starting to bloom into his dream’s fruition.
He considers it an honor to be accepted into the American Ballet Theatre and recognized for his skills.
Shayer’s online audience may have seen his recent Creative Genesis projects, known as the “Ballet Bubble,” project and his featured “PAS DE DEUX,” a four-part docu-series supported by CHANEL featuring three dancers from American Ballet Theatre and artists from various mediums such as Alicia Keys and Marcus Samuelsson.
For his contributions to the world of ballet and art, he was awarded the Levinson Arts Achievement Award from the New York Community Trust, and fans can eagerly expect more ballet from Gabe Stone Shayer in 2021.
Gabe Stone Shayer’s goal is to share ballet with the world. He wishes to use his ballet platform to create more opportunities for all ballet dancers to express their unique creativity, emotion, and skills through his nonprofit Creative Genesis.
He’s looking forward to the resumption of live performances once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, but until then, he’ll continue training. Showcasing his choreographic voice, he’s been teaching ballet via Zoom through the House of Fame Academy.
To stay up to date with everything new in ballet and with Gabe Stone Shayer by following him on Instagram.