I love talking to dancers.
Even though I was one myself, and therefore know inside out what that life is all about, hearing another dancer’s voice describing the steps they took to get where they are always leads me to want to know more—the hows and whys behind each of their own moves and decisions, the alternate routes they could have taken but didn’t, the details of their lives that show me what makes them tick.
Of course, I relate any other dancer’s life story to my own. I consider the differences and similarities, imagine how I might have acted if I’d been in their shoes, their location, their surroundings, had those influences, and maybe most significantly, lived when or where they did. Every dancer I interview is younger than I am, and many of the other dance artists are, too. The digital age has vastly changed the way artists develop.
I’ve been writing the Playbill feature articles for Oregon Ballet Theatre for about three years now. Many of my pieces have been dancer or artist profiles, which are definitely my favorite ones to do. Here’s my latest, for OBT's season opener this weekend, which includes a ballet very near and dear to me: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by Christopher Stowell when I was in the company. Christopher created the role of Helena on me, and it remains a very, very top contender for my favorite role of all time. (It was a beautiful and heartwarming thing to discover during our interview that OBT’s newest soloist, Carly Wheaton, was just beginning to learn Helena herself when i interviewed her.)
The four incoming dancers I profiled have interesting stories: the commonalities are there, but the variety of colors in the way they shaped their dancing lives thus far sincerely excited me, as I think it will you. Enjoy!