Paul Vitali was introduced to ballet at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, where teachers from Pennsylvania Ballet encouraged Paul to audition for the company’s official School. There he began his ballet studies in earnest, progressing through the School into Pennsylvania Ballet’s apprentice program, led by former American Ballet Theatre prima ballerina Lupe Serrano, until being invited to join the professional company. Under the direction of founder Barbara Weisberger and artistic director Benjamin Harkarvy, Paul rose in the ranks to perform many roles in the prestigious company.
Pennsylvania Ballet offered a diverse repertoire, featuring its foundation in the traditions of legendary choreographer George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet, as well as works by up-and-coming new choreographers, established dance-makers, and traditional ballet classics. Favorite principal roles included “Phlegmatic” and “Melancholic” in George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments, Iago in Jose Limon’s Moor’s Pavane, John Butler’s Carmina Burana, Peter Martins’s Calcium Light Night, Choo san Goh’s Celestial Images and Peter Anastos’s Domino, as well as the Snow pas de Deux by Robert Rodham and George Balanchine’s Grand pas de Deux in the Company’s annual production of The Nutcracker.
A long-time dream of living and dancing in New York City called, and Vitali joined the Feld Ballet, led by choreographer and founder, Eliot Feld. He danced a variety of ballets in the company’s established repertoire and initiated roles in new works created by the prolific choreographer and director. Mr. Feld broadened the company’s offerings with works by additional choreographers, including those of Pilobolus; George Balanchine, where Paul danced the renowned duet Tarantella; and David Parsons, being one of two dancers, other than the choreographer himself, first chosen to perform the iconic strobe-light solo Caught.
While in New York, Paul enjoyed learning from many of the city’s famed teachers, and his love of teaching grew. He was a company teacher at the Feld Ballet, while spending summers returning to his roots on the faculty of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts. After retiring from the stage Paul followed a path in the travel industry, and his appreciation of the physical arts was broadened by studying the traditional Japanese art of shiatsu. But Paul’s deep love of ballet brought him back to teaching and, as a resident of Miami, he taught ballet at the Miami City Ballet School and at Florida International University. In 2007 Paul was invited by long-time dancing partner and founding artistic director of Indianapolis Ballet (IB), Victoria Lyras, to play the part of Herr Drosselmeyer in the Indianapolis School of Ballet’s first production of The Nutcracker. Since then he taught and choreographed for the talented students at ISB as resident guest faculty, while still ‘hitting the boards’ as Herr Drosselmeyer, the Ringmaster in Carnival of the Animals, and Dr. Coppélius in Coppélia. Today Paul is thrilled to have become a resident of Indianapolis and a full-time member of Indianapolis Ballet.