ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Daniel Ulbricht is an accomplished dancer and St. Pete native. He has been with The New York City Ballet for more than 20 years. Now he's teaching aspiring dancers in his hometown.
Ulbricht is sharing his wisdom and expertise with students at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa. He's training students in The Next Generation Ballet Summer Intensive Program, which is a rigorous five-week training program for aspiring dancers.
The veteran of dance says the things he teaches aren't in a textbook.
"You can take a course and that's okay. But the real hands down, pass knowledge is through class," said Ulbricht.
He believes you share your personal experiences as a performer and teacher.
"Sharing your experiences through a student yourself, and imparting that wisdom to the next generation of students" is how Ulbricht describes his teaching.
Daniel started out in martial arts and gymnastics. He caught the dancing bug when he was around ten, after his sister's dance teacher asked him to give it a try.
"He taught me sort of backwards. He taught me how to jump and turn before I knew the basics. And then he said, ‘If you want to do those better, you might want to learn this.’ And I found that was the key to getting me hooked as a young, young male dancer," Ulbricht added.
He left Lakewood High School in St. Pete and went to New York City to fulfilled his dream of becoming a professional dancer.
"I've been doing dance for many years now. In fact, I think I'm just starting my 22nd year as a dancer with New York City Ballet, which is older than many of the students here that I'm teaching," said Ulbricht.
Stella Langner is a student in the class.
"I feel like I've already improved, like a lot. The teachers here give really good advice and it's very direct, and it's just very helpful to improve," shared Langner.
Ulbricht said it's actually more than learning dance moves.
"Ballet and dance in general has all these wonderful life skills. As much as it's about, you know, turnout and flexibility and jumping and turning and movement, it's really about teaching you about yourself, too," explained the dance teacher.
The courses Ulbricht teachers are a life-changing experience for the students and fellow teachers.
"I feel really fortunate to have such a platform to share my passion and for a craft that is giving me such a life to take care of others and to feel blessed every day," Ulbricht said.