By Ron VandenBoom
It's the people and a sense that he is doing something for others that keeps Jess Sanfiel, a Cuban born ballet master, away his home in New York City and teaching in Montana.
"I feel good when I know I'm doing something for other people," he said, just after finishing a class last Saturday at Dani Alex's School of Dance on the third floor of the Heritage Center in Havre. "When you dance you hear music, you move and you create beautiful things."
Sanfiel has studied dance since the age of 10 in his home in Cuba and was later awarded a scholarship with the world famous Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.
Since that time, Sanfiel has dance and taught his way around the world serving four years at the Magnolia Ballet School in Paris and also teaching in Spain and in Brazil at the San Pablo School of Dance. He also taught at two schools in Miami, Florida, where he had the opportunity to dance with one of the best and most well known masters of ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Today Sanfiel is a freelance instructor in New York that has also taught in such unlikely places as Kentucky with the Lexington Ballet and in Ohio with the Columbus Youth Ballet.
Sanfiel also speaks five languages fluently and said he can say hello in 13.
His list of credits and accomplishments goes on, but his reasons for coming to Montana are the friendly people and the lack of highly trained instructors available to most students.
"It's good to go to small towns because people with a lot of skill don't come here...," he said. "I like to go around and help all of these schools and the young dancers because they don't have too much exposure to really advanced techniques."
Sanfiel, at 53, teaches only Latin and American Jazz.
"Because of the freedom of movement," he said. "It's good to switch from Jazz to ballet to Latin Jazz."
Since coming to Montana, Sanfiel has taught in Bozeman, Cut Bank, Great Falls, Conrad, and Shelby.
He will be teaching at Dani Alex's studio this Saturday from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Heritage Center before returning to Bozeman where he has plans to choreograph two productions and teach a workshop.
The public is invited to come and watch Sanfiel go through his paces as he teaches.