Sebastien Marcovici moves across the dance studio with an effortless grace. Previously the principal dancer at New York City Ballet, Marcovici is now retired and teaching at the Los Angeles Dance Project.
Before our interview, we had a quick photoshoot, where I had the chance to see Marcovici dance.
His feet and turnout were still flawless, and I envied his skill and technique. I wish I could jump that high in a studio that big. As a beginner dancer myself, I was very curious about how he got his start.
Like many dancers, Marcovici began ballet when he was very young - at the tender age of four - and he just grew up doing it. "The more I did it, the more I liked it," he says, "so I just kept on going."
But while most dancers start young, the only ones who find success are the ones who really love to dance, he says. "You have to have passion to really do it, especially if you want to be a professional. It has to come from the heart. You need devotion to really push yourself and go for it."
So how do you know if you've got what it takes? Well, besides taking some introductory classes, the first step is to go see an actual ballet production. Marcovici's favourite ballet, Agon, would be a good choice, if it ever comes to Hong Kong.
"It's a really cool ballet," he says. "I like everything about it. The musicality, the music itself - which is by Igor Stravinsky - all the steps, how all the hands are very important … I love it."
Marcovici was excited as we chatted about the LA Dance Project. The performance company was founded by Benjamin Millepied, the choreographer of the Oscar-winning film, Black Swan.
"The idea behind this company isn't just dance, but also visual media, and to bring other artists into it," Marcovici says.
"The music, the choreography, sometimes even a fashion designer, we bring someone else into dance to see how dance can be part of everyday life," he says. "We're allowing others to show their interests so that you can relate to dance in more than one way."
It's this integration of dance into our daily lives that makes his art so unique. "Those who do ballet know that it is something very special, and it's not always accessible everywhere, for everybody," Marcovici explains.
"I think the idea of going on tour, or trying to reach out, is a kind of offering to the people who can't do it. It's like liberation, freedom for young people."
This freedom is especially important for youngsters living in Hong Kong's high-pressure environment.
"It could open a door to show that there are other things, to let young people see that there are things to be passionate about, and maybe to go pursue different things," says Marcovici.
Whether you have a passion for it, or just a casual interest, dance can help you get more enjoyment out of life. And that's something we should always treasure.