Brazilian talent in Tbilisi

William Santos and Susanna Melo

William Santos (center) dancing in the Nutcracker; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

Story by Susanna Melo

Keith and I have “adopted’ four very talented, sweet and joyful young Georgian women as our “daughters.” One of them, Tamuna, whom we met at the Populi supermarket and who has always been very attentive and helpful when we shop there, connected us to William Santos.

William Santos is from Sao Paulo and has been living in Tbilisi for as long as we have been here (nearly 6 months). He is 23 years old and this is the first time he has left Brazil. He came to Georgia to follow his dreams.

At age 15, unbeknownst to his parents, he began taking ballet classes secretly. He knew they would have disapproved had they found out. At age 18, William’s parents insisted that he needed to get a real job to help out his family. He found ways to circumvent their wishes to drop ballet altogether. He began teaching dance; although the salary was insufficient to help his family, he was able to pay for his personal expenses. Such was his passion for dancing, he struggled against all odds to get to where he is today: dancing for the very famous Nina Ananiashvili Ballet Company!

William is quite a striking and talented young man! He is also humble and attributes his good fortune to Daniella and Giselle Pavarini, who own the Centro de Artes Pavarini in Sao Paulo. His teacher and mentor at this art center helped ensure that William would be able to leave Brazil to have better opportunities abroad. As the result of a competition in Sao Paulo, William was selected to join Nina’s ballet company in Tbilisi.

We thoroughly enjoyed watching William dance with such gusto in the Nutcracker! We met him behind stage after the performance and then invited him to our apartment for a simple Brazilian meal of rice and beans, etc. While conversing, we put William to talk via phone to Bruno Schmidt, another young Brazilian man we have yet to meet personally. After he hung up, he told us that he had sat right next to Bruno on the plane coming to Tbilisi 6 months ago, but that they had not exchanged contact information.

So, this Thursday, William and I will meet Bruno for the first time. William will be taking Anderson, another Brazilian dancer that joined the Ballet Company 2 weeks ago. Now it seems that Keith and I will expand our family to add our three “adopted Brazilian sons!”


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

5 Responses to Brazilian talent in Tbilisi

  1. Anonymous says:

    i was yesterday on this show, it was amazing!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Miss u Keith and Sussana too…
    =***** Thanks for everything!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Its me William Santos hahahaha =P

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