Five Friday Questions with Miles Pertl

Lindsay Thomas

Miles Pertl, a Seattle native, has been a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s corps de ballet since 2015. He’s played the Mouse King in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Friar Laurence in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette

He will be seen in PNB’s new spin on CinderellaCendrillon, on stage at McCaw Hall February 3rd through the 12th. Pertl joined me for this week’s installment of Five Friday Questions. 

When did you realize that you wanted to be a dancer?

I have always loved dancing, from when I was 6, as a young Irish dancer, through today. Truthfully, I didn’t know that being an artist was a tangible path until I saw works by choreographers Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian and quickly followed by many others. They opened my eyes to how influential art and dance can be in this modern age. That made my choice to be a dancer clear and a real pleasure in the process.

What performance (theater, concert, movie, whatever) are you excited about seeing? Why?

I really want to see Shot, a new work by Donald Byrd and Spectrum Dance Company. His work and company utilize “theater of disruption” to make the audience take a fresh look at the world we all live in. I love work that makes me think or feel something so strongly.

Miles Pertl in David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to My Skin
Miles Pertl in David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to My Skin

What do you do to prepare right before you hit the stage?

I like to be as mentally prepared as possible days, or even weeks, in advance so that by the time I get to the theater before the show, all I need to do to be ready is to warm up, have some Altoids, and fall into whatever I need to do.  I usually try to clear my mind so that when I’m onstage nothing will get in the way of being 100% present in the moment.

What artwork (piece of music, theater piece, whatever) has always inspired you? How has it?

I love pieces of work that are true to themselves. Pina Bausch’s Rite of Spring or Cafe Muller in the dance world are the gold standard for ringing true. Also, Nina Simone always finds a way to my heart.

What do you like about Seattle’s arts community?

The Seattle arts scene is so diverse and very tight knit. I’ve been lucky enough to meet many dancers from many companies, meet classical artists, free-thinking artists, and amazing musicians, just by living in Seattle and hanging out with friends and friends of friends. That is the kind of community that can accomplish anything if they put their minds to it. Also, I always love to meet more awesome people in this community, so come and find me and let’s talk art.