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ID: Thomas Vacanti

  • Thomas Vacanti<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Thomas Vacanti<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

Tom Vacanti has lived in the Pioneer Valley for 11 years. Before moving to the Valley he danced professionally throughout the United States, Central America and Russia. In addition to his work with the Pioneer Valley Ballet and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he has formed Vacanti Ballets — a group that produces elaborate dance works inspired by the creative intersection of ballet and contemporary culture. Last July, Vacanti Ballets performed at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as part of the Inside/Out series.

Full name: Thomas Vacanti

People know you as: Tom

Date and place of birth: Dec. 27, 1962, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Address: Cudworth Road, Worthington

Job: Assistant professor of dance at UMass Amherst, artistic director of the Pioneer Valley Ballet

Children: None

Education: Bachelor of Science in dance from Skidmore College, 2002; Master’s of Fine Arts in dance from Smith College, 2004

Pets: Three cats: Sir Hugo Pissypants, Isobel Peaches LaRue, and Phinneas P. Trout

Hobbies: Renovating my house, working in the yard

Book you’d recommend to a friend: “The Man Who Quit Money” by Mark Sundeen

Favorite movie/television show/singer or group: Movie — “Amelie”; TV — “Misfits,” “True Blood”; Music — Talking Heads/David Byrne

Five items you can’t live without: Final Cut Pro, Garage Band, a hammer, a shovel, a toothbrush

Last thing you purchased just for fun: A ’70s button-down shirt from a thrift store in the Montmarte district of Paris

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Working less, enjoying life more

Life-changing experience: Turning 50 this past year. For some reason, 50 really makes you look around and re-evaluate your life

Strangest job you ever held: Every job is strange in its own way

What is your current Facebook status? I posted my horoscope from The Onion: “For centuries fire was a sacred symbol of vitality and strength. Keep this in mind as you roll around frantically on your kitchen floor this Thursday”

A little-known fact about you: My unholy love of pie — too bad I’m gluten-free now. You could add to that Twizzlers — they have gluten too

Dumbest thing you ever did: “Dumbest thing,” to me, implies regret. I have tried to live my life with no regrets

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: Paisley. And lots of it

What really sets you off? Work not finished or done poorly. Why do something if it’s not your best?

If you could spend the day with a celebrity, from any time in history, who would it be and why? Tennessee Williams. I have always felt we were kindred souls. Looking at my work now, I see how much he has influenced me

Best advice you ever got? One day I asked my dance mentor, Elisabeth Carroll: “Will I ever be a dancer?” Her reply was — “If you have to ask that question, you will never be a dancer.” The implied advice — If you question or doubt what you do, you will never succeed

Favorite place to get a bite and why? The Blue Heron. Wednesdays — oysters and burgers ... doesn’t get much better

Your favorite team or athlete: Have never been into sports and their competitive nature. Dance is my sport. Dance has always been that beautiful combination of art and high physical ideals. I couldn’t ask for more

What does your ideal weekend look like? Option 1: A road trip to some place interesting, stopping for flea markets and yard sales, interspersed with good food and drink

Option 2: Staying in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., spending the weekend in the mineral baths at the Roosevelt Baths, interspersed with good food and drink

One thing you would change about yourself: Always trying to change myself

What gives you the creeps and why? Snakes. I don’t know why

People who knew you in high school thought you were: I’ve managed to completely forget high school. I’m sure they thought I was the coolest person around

Whom do you most admire? I generally most admire artists whose work makes me marvel at their creativity and how their mind works: director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, choreographer Jiri Kyllian, artist Kara Walker

Parting shot: “Everything you can imagine is real,” Pablo Picasso

— Compiled by Brenda Nelson.

To suggest someone for ID, send an email to bnelson@gazettenet.com

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