Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Joan Boada dances the role of Franz in Ballet Hawaii's "Coppelia," this weekend at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Injury gives ballet dancer
time to discover new love

When recovering from a bum knee, you could sit around and moan a lot. Or you could do as Joan Boada did -- discover the key to your future.


On stage: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Tickets: $25, $40 and $55; $10 discount for students, seniors and military
Call: 877-750-4400 or order online at www.ticketmaster.com

Two years ago, Boada, a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, was sidelined by knee surgery. He couldn't dance for eight months.

"All I would do instead of practicing was watch the Food Network," Boada says.

The creativity of cooking captured his imagination. "That's how I got hooked."

Boada has one of the lead roles in Ballet Hawaii's "Coppelia," opening Saturday. He also starred in "Nutcracker" on Maui last year and will return this year to again dance the role for Ballet Hawaii.

But the ballet, it seems, is just his paying gig. His dream, he says, is culinary school "and maybe opening a restaurant."

He has taken weekend classes at the Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and cooks as often as possible at home.

The restaurant goal will likely have to wait until he retires from ballet, he says. "Or, if I win the Lotto, maybe I could start with the school process, I could go for a year or so, learn how to cook."

Boada grew up in Cuba, dancing with the National Ballet there before joining Le Jeuns Ballet de France in 1994. "It's strange because once I moved to France when I was 18 my taste changed. Now when I go back to Miami, I'm not interested in the Cuban food."

He leans instead toward French or Asian flavors -- ahi being a particular favorite when he cooks.

A restaurant in Hawaii might be a good place to begin his second career, Boada muses. "I could learn a lot and have a good life, because it's fantastic to live here. There's nothing like living with the ocean next to me. It's like living in Cuba."

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