Matt explores life with a childlike curiosity and a youthful heart. As such, his improvisations are playful and unexpected. He can often be seen experimenting with a new move, discovering ways to make it fit his body. His investigative qualities are personified in his role in “2B,” a quartet he collaborated on and was ultimately cast in wearing a foam fish head as a part of his costume.
Backstage with Matt Del Rosario, Dancer
Hailing from the island of Lanai in Hawaii, Matt plays the ukulele, loves to surf, and enjoys curating his extensive collection of Nerf munitions. He discovered dance “late” in his life, but through much determination went on to graduate from North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance. 2010 marks his second season with Pilobolus.
Like many of the men in Pilobolus, you started dance later than most. How did that happen?
Matt: It all started when I was attending the University of Hawaii. I began as an inspired education major, but before long I started skipping class to surf. My “Oh, I’ll go tomorrow” attitude led to me failing multiple classes. So, I decided to take a dance class to boost my GPA. I signed up for beginning ballet with Paul Maley, who happened to be an alumnus of North Carolina School of the Arts. It was the hardest thing in the world, but I really enjoyed it and didn’t give up. Paul got me in contact with NCSA and that year the dean of NCSA’s dance department flew to Hawaii to audition me at home. After the audition she invited me to come to the school, and that’s how I got started.
You’ve talked before about coming to the “mainland” and it being a big deal. What was it like leaving Hawaii?
Matt: It was a journey leaving my home. Some of the most difficult moments of my life happened in North Carolina, but I discovered a whole new world! Even to this day I feel like I’m still adjusting.
How did you come to be in Pilobolus?
Matt: I heard of Pilobolus through a friend. I auditioned in February of 2008. I actually started my audition by sending videos. I was in North Carolina at the time and I couldn’t afford a plane ticket to fly up to NYC for the audition so I just sent videos of me jumping, running, dancing, et cetera. Through numerous emails I finally found myself in NYC auditioning for Pilobolus. Day after day after day, the audition went on and, finally, I was the last man standing. I got a call and was offered the job!
Since you joined the company in 2008, you’ve helped create three pieces and have learned countless others. Do you have a favorite?
Matt: My favorite piece to perform would have to be “Gnomen.” There is a sense of brotherhood and compassion that I really respect about this piece.
Any favorite tour destinations?
Matt: So far I think Australia has been my favorite – it touches the Pacific Ocean and it made me feel closer to home.
How do you like being on tour?
Matt: The traveling is the best part about being in Pilobolus. Touring the world gives me so many opportunities for adventure and to experience life. At the same time, touring can be the most challenging aspect. I find that always being on the move tires you out quickly. I miss being in my home and sleeping in my own bed, but I have the rest of my life to do those things so why not travel the world now?
Is there any place you haven’t toured yet but would like to?
Matt: Many places, but above all Hawaii, so my family could see what I’m doing with my life, and so that maybe I can inspire someone from Hawaii to do what I have done. I left home to follow my dream and to prove that the impossible is possible.
Interviewed by Jeffery Huang