Today’s Beyond The Barre conversation is with Sean Omandam, a corps de ballet dancer at Colorado Ballet, with a killer split jump, an energetic personality and infectious laugh. He graciously took the time in between his full schedule of rehearsals for this year’s Nutcracker to chat with me.
KH: Tell me a little about yourself?
SO: I’m from Fresno, CA and I went to school in Florida for ballet training.
KH: How long have you been with the Colorado Ballet?
SO: I moved to Colorado in 2004. They found me when I was in school and offered me a job, so I’ve been here ever since.
KH: How did you get into ballet?
SO: When I was a kid, my parents stuck me into everything from dance to acting to painting to piano and then slowly, one by one, those things kind of trailed off and dance and ballet are the ones that stuck with me.
KH: What do you eat for breakfast?
SO: I don’t like breakfast. I usually skip breakfast, but if I do eat it, I would probably have an egg with sausage and toast. Usually I just have my coffee and tea and go. I love brunch though. On the weekends I’m up for brunch. I love going to Jelly over on 13th and on Sundays I love going for Dim Sum.
KH: If I gave you $100,000 what would you do with it?
SO: I’d pay off my condo mortgage first, put some away in savings; practical things. But other than that, if I didn’t have to worry about those things, I would travel the world. Last summer I went to Japan but I would love to go around the rest of Southeast Asia, Thailand and Cambodia.
KH: If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 items, what would you bring?
SO: I would bring my iPod to have music with me all the time. A notepad and then I’d find something on the island to make something to write with and I would bring a really good pair of tennis shoes or hiking boots. I hate the feeling of my feet on really awkward surfaces.
KH: What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
SO: Energetic, shy and awkward.
KH: What’s your favorite thing about Denver?
SO: I love the food scene and trying out new restaurants here.
KH: Do you have a hidden talent?
SO: I guess I’m a pretty good cook and I like to make videos on the side.
KH: How did you get into doing videos?
SO: I think I just picked up a camera and went along with it and started shooting videos of friends while we were out on trips to have keepsakes to look back on.
KH: What is your favorite dish you like to make?
SO: I usually like to make a lot of Asian foods but I love making this oxtail stew that my dad taught me how to make when I was a kid. It’s a favorite of mine that he makes when I go home, so now that I know how to make it myself, when I want to feel a little nostalgic and want something that reminds me of home especially in winter and fall months, I’ll make that.
KH: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
SO: Going back to how shy I am. When people see me on stage I’m usually outgoing and really energetic but when I’m on my own or with friends I kind of sit back and let other people do the work of entertaining.
KH: What does your perfect day look like?
SO: Sleeping in, a nice long hot shower and brunch with friends. Then I’d take a nap because I always get that food coma after a really good brunch after that dinner and drinks into the night.
KH: Sleep and eat that’s all you need.
SO: Yes, that seems to be a common theme, right?
KH: What’s the last song you listened to?
SO: The Greatest by Sia. That one pumps me up and gets me going before work and everything.
KH: What is your favorite movie?
SO: “Mother," it’s a South Korean drama. It’s kind of odd and quirky, but still a little comedic. It’s about a mom who goes to whatever lengths to save her son who’s in an odd predicament.
KH: Do you have a favorite book?
SO: I don’t. I haven’t read a book in a long time oddly enough but the last book I read was “S” by Doug Dorst and J.J Abrams.
KH: What inspires you to push past your limits?
SO: Wanting to improve upon myself every day. I think we all have that in common, we always want to do better, and we want to keep pushing ourselves. We run into these stumbling blocks or we think that we’ve plateaued and as dancers we keep pushing ourselves knowing there’s another crest that we can rise up to beyond that. Even though I think I can’t, I know that I can keep pushing myself.
KH: If you hadn’t chosen this career, what would you be doing?
SO: I would want to be an architect or cook. Something that’s still creative. I think I’ll always have that aspect of me that wants to do something creative and artistic in some form, whether it’s with my body or hands.
KH: Words you live by (life motto)
SO: I always tell myself that I can do it; I can keep going before I get on stage. I can do anything that I find challenging. I’m always reaffirming myself that I’ve got this.
KH: What advice would you tell your 10 year old self?
SO: To take the advice given to you with a grain of salt. As a dancer, you can always hear these negative things and it’s up to you to filter out what’s actually useful and what’s negative and will put you down.
KH: This being your 12 season with the company, what roles are you performing and what are you most excited about with this year’s Nutcracker?
SO: I play Fritz, Solider Doll, and mouse, also I’m in Chinese, Marzipan and Russian divertissements. My favorite would be Russian because it’s high energy and a lot of fun and a big crowd-pleaser. I’m excited knowing how much joy everyone gets from it during the holiday season and that it’s a part of family’s traditions. It’s heartwarming to hear that The Nutcracker is something that sticks with everyone and that we are a part of that at Colorado Ballet.