By Walter Rutledge
On an unseasonably cold Sunday April morning Calvin Royal III met my at the East Harlem storefront dance studio of Robin William’s Uptown Dance Academy. The interview was in conjunction with his first upcoming New York City season as a soloist with American Ballet Theater (ABT). This also marked the first time in over two decades a black man ascended to the rank of soloist with ABT.
I first witnessed Royal III’s talent in 2007 when he performed the Black Swan pas de deux with ABT II at the Joyce. The review I published for Harlem World Magazines stated “Calvin Royal III lives up to his name, his performance was truly majestic”. What was so impressive was his ability to transcended the movement, letting his own persona shine. It also became clear this quality is innate- a gift that cannot be taught, but can definitely be cultivated.
Ten years later Royal III sat down with O&A Editor-in-Chief Walter Rutledge to discuss his journey and to share his dreams with the next generation a dancers. This interview took place in 2017 and was never published. The pandemic has suspended the 2020 performing arts season so it was time to open the O&A Vaults. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Calvin Royal III we knew then that the best is yet to come.