Soares inspires young boys as ballet, dance instructor

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

Brazilian native José Soares not only loves performing ballet but also wants to make a difference in the lives of all the boys he teaches.

His background in dance goes back to his childhood days.

Liam Couch learns a move from Andalusia Ballet Dance Instructor José Soares.

“I started training when I was 11 years old in Brazil and graduated from a Russian school called Bolshoi. I have also trained with The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Dancing first caught my attention because of how athletic it was. When the guys were lifting the girls, they made it look so easy. Back then, I was playing all the sports I could, and dancing was just another way for me to use my energy,” Soares said.

While living in Teresina, Piauí, Brazil at the age of 17, Soares received a scholarship to dance with Joffrey Ballet Chicago. “I didn’t think twice. If you are in any country and get an opportunity to dance in America, you have to take it. Coming to America is an opportunity of a lifetime,” he said.

He has been a dance instructor for the last six years. He resided in the state of Missouri and moved to Andalusia on July 3, 2020. Soon after the move, Soares accepted a job working at Andalusia Ballet teaching ballet and contemporary dance.

Buddy Harper goes airborne during a practice routine at the Andalusia Ballet.

He believes ballet to be a fun and enjoyable activity for children of all ages. “Brotherhood and competitiveness make a dance class more enjoyable. The idea is to make them want to come back for class the next week. Also, having a class with only boys helps build a team of young men,” he said.

Soares added that he strives to inspire and motivate his students. “I try my best to make them understand that my idea is not to make them dancers just yet. I want to teach them to be respectful of others. I want to teach discipline and things that will make them successful in the future. Being a dancer requires all of that and so much more. If I became the man I became today coming from a country that didn’t give many opportunities, they certainly can do a lot more being here. I also show off some moves in class to make them excited.”

He conducts a typical group class with something his students can relate to while having fun at the same time.

Cash Julian holds form as he receives instructions from Soares.

“When you teach dance to boys especially with this group I have, it’s all about making it like a game. Boys that age answer really well to a competitive environment, so I add dance moves to games. I try to make them understand how much athleticism and how strong you have to be to become a dancer,” Soares said.

Having the opportunity to teach ballet means so much to him. “It’s hard to put it into words because I see myself in a lot of them. I ask myself, ‘What would I want my teacher to be when I was that young?’ a whole lot. I want this group of boys to succeed so bad in every aspect of their lives.”

Jaxson Stinson remains calm while working on a dance routine taught by Soares.

According to Soares, ballet is a 24/7-365 type of work. He teaches Monday through Thursday and resides in Andalusia with his wife, Meredith.

“There’s no time to be lazy or leave it for tomorrow. If you want to be successful, you need to give 110 percent every single day. I guess you can say this about all other jobs, but with dance, it’s different because our bodies are what we put on the line every day,” he said. “Like I always say, I am always on the clock.”

Andreas Evans participates in a dance move under the guidance of Andalusia Ballet Dance Instructor José Soares.

Andalusia Ballet is located at 420 Church Street. For more information visit andalusiaballet.com or call 334-222-6620.

“Meryane Murphy and Andalusia have been doing an amazing job in this community even before I moved down. This AIM High Program is just another amazing thing we came up with at the Andalusia Ballet. The last time I had 27 boys in a dance class, I was 12 years old training at the Bolshoi School. The fact we have 27 boys taking this class in Andalusia is something unheard of. I can’t think about another school with that many boys invested in dance,” Soares said.

The AIM High program is made possible in part through a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and through the generous support of the members of the Andalusia Ballet Association.