Oak City Hustle
If Magic Exists in the World, it Resides Behind the Walls of The Carolina Ballet

If Magic Exists in the World, it Resides Behind the Walls of The Carolina Ballet

I recently sat down with Zalman Grinberg of the North Carolina Ballet for a little Q and A. Not only is he a rising star and pushing the limits with his choreography, he is one of the raddest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Be on the look out for this guy.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_24

1.Tell us a little about yourself

A little about myself…. I grew up in New York City, I have three sisters, and my mom, all survived my fathers transition to whatever is after this life in 1998, when I was 12.  My mothers family is large, the majority of them live on Long Island. Growing up we spent a lot of time with them and it was amazing.  Although my mother, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents couldn’t be more different from one another, we all keep in touch and have been a big part of each others lives through birth,weddings,holidays, deaths, divorce,substance abuse,mental illness,illness you name it, only to see the other side of it, all together.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_25

2. You started dancing at a young age. When?  What drove you to become a professional dancer?

I was always dancing around like a little fairy.  Eventually my parents had me audition for the school of american ballet.  I got in.  I got chosen to be a party child in New York City Ballet’s, Nutcracker, the ballet company directly affiliated with School of American Ballet. I can remember watching the company members rehearsing, they were memorizing.  It was raw and real, and then it came time for performance.The dichotomy that was rehearsal and performances were such extremes that even at young age I became captivated by the lifestyle.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_19

3. What dancer(s) inspire you?

Growing up there were three dancers I fell in love with, Janie Taylor, Sarah Ricard-Orza and Seth Orza.  For some reason their dance always spoke to me louder than that, of more, prominent figures in the business.  Janie is unearthly and ferocious . Sarah and Seth were subtlety elegant,athletic, and more graceful than any other dancers I can recall.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_21

4. You’ve stepped away from dancing as of recently and have leaned more towards choreography if I’m correct? Tell us about your change of roles within the company?

This past spring I retired from performing and began focusing wholly on the other side of that, choreography, teaching, coaching, repeating ballets and Carolina Ballets development.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_2

5. What’s in store for the future? Projects? Shows?

This upcoming season I have two world premiere ballet taking the stage.  The first in September set to Brahms Violin Sonata No.3, the second will be a debut in February, 2015.  It is a collaboration with Robert Weiss artistic director of Carolina Ballet on the study of music composed for dance throughout time, titled the Composers program.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_20

 6. What project/projects you are most proud of?

In the late spring The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, which was choreographed last summer, made possible by The New York Choreographic Institute will make it’s stage debut along side Cinderella.  I have a couple other opportunities to participate in things creatively with Carolina Ballet, and others as well, but I feel like I’m just listing shit off.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_16

7. Tell us a little about the company you work with?

If magic exists in the world, it subsides behind the walls of Carolina Ballets studios, and our theaters. It is a place where creativity flourishes and consciousness strives.  It has supported the development of many artists to cultivate there craft in the studio, only bring a greater awareness to every moment of their lives.  This precedent set by the example if it’s founding artistic director Robert Weiss, who encourages all dancers to live up to their full potential not only as artists but as human beings.

Carolina Ballet 2014 x Oak City Hustle x Raleigh NC_11

8. Enough with the dance questions.

Top 5

Places you’ve travelled?

Places I’ve traveled, Halifax, China, California, Florida and Michigan. Not the worldliest individual.

Movies you can watch a 1000 times?

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”(Kristie Swason, Luke Perry),”The Lost Boys”, “Heathers”, “Reno 911 Miami”, “The Exorcist”, “The Craft”.  I may shittiest taste in film ever.

If you love art, music, and or dance, do yourself a favor and go check out the North Carolina Ballet. Its one of the coolest experiences I’ve seen .


Spclgst’s willingness to explore has made him a DJ in demand. Having held down residencies in New York and Philadelphia, he’s become well-known in Raleigh with weekly shindigs at both The Hive at Busy Bee and Five Star. But such success is not enough for him. He’s constantly looking to push his skills to the next level.

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