A teenager in a foreign land during a global pandemic, Hector Jain is well beyond his years. The Next Generation Ballet (NGB) alum and Lakeland, Fla., resident has been studying at Les Ballet de Monte Carlo’s Princess Grace Academy since early in 2020 and soaking up all the experience has to offer. Caught in the Act asked him to answer FIVE QUESTIONS about his time with the Straz Center’s NGB, his family, his exciting new life in Europe and the experience of studying at one of the world’s great schools of ballet.
Caught In the Act: How are you doing in Monaco? How is life and ballet in Europe in the age of Covid-19?
Hector Jain: I am doing very well. Right now, we are not allowed to go out very often because of the virus, but I am really enjoying the beautiful sights from my dorm room. Ballet in Europe is slowly opening back up and companies are back to rehearsing. Everything here at the academy is great, and we are taking extra caution for the virus.
CITA: How has your training with NGB prepared you for the work you are doing at the Princess Grace Academy?
HJ: NGB training has really prepared me for the work I am doing here. I feel like the rigorous schedule, as well as the professional setting, really helped me gain the physical and emotional strength to succeed. I am really grateful for what NGB has done for me.
CITA: Have you been able to keep up in touch with your family in Lakeland? What advice/guidance have they given you?
HJ: I have been able to keep in touch with my family in Lakeland. I try to call them three times a week and I have received a lot of advice from them. They have taught me a lot about time management and staying strong through the hard times. I wouldn’t be here without them.
CITA: Your fellow students at the academy also come from around the world. What are you learning about other cultures?
HJ: I am learning a lot about other cultures. I have met people from South Africa, France, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Japan, the UK, Argentina, Portugal, Mexico and so many other places. I am starting to get the hang of French, and I am learning a little bit of Japanese from my roommate. It is crazy that so many different people from around the world are brought together through ballet.
CITA: What is one thing you love about Monaco? And one thing you miss about Florida?
HJ: One thing that I love about Monaco is how safe and small it is. It feels like a little mini city where everything is in walking distance and there really aren’t places that are particularly dangerous. One thing that I miss about Florida is the weather. I really love the rain, and there is a lot of it in Florida. In Monaco, with the Mediterranean climate, it rarely rains.