Meet the Tulsa Ballet II Dancers: No. 4
Sep 5, 2013 in Blog Posts
MEET TULSA BALLET II DANCERS: No. 4
The Men of Tulsa Ballet II
We recently were able to sit down with some of our TBII dancers and talk about their lives. Check back soon for the next installment in Meet Tulsa Ballet II Dancers!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE DANCING MOMENT?
Mason: I would have to say getting a chance to dance as a Courtier in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella last spring (2013) with the San Francisco Ballet. I was still in the school as a Level 8 student, and it is not very often that we get a chance to actually dance with the company on the Memorial Opera House stage in San Francisco. Even if I was only one in thirty other dancers on the stage, it was still my first taste of dancing professionally.
Silas: My most memorable dancing moment was when I fell asleep during a piece while I was rehearsing it. I was working on a pas de deux, which includes one part where I pretend to fall asleep while my partner is dancing. One time during rehearsal, I actually passed out as soon as my head was resting in my hands. I remember dreaming of the next steps I was going to do, and then I woke up instantaneously with my hands on my head realizing that I had really fallen asleep. My friends were laughing at me in the corner, but my director didn't think it was so funny, so he had us run it through from the beginning. My partner didn't talk to me for the rest of the rehearsal. Needless to say, I haven't fallen asleep during rehearsal since.
Xavier: One moment I will never forget is when I had the opportunity to perform in the Lincoln Center in NYC for a children's show. The thing that made it so memorable was that we students were sharing the same stage as some of the biggest stars in ballet. It was a really great experience to be backstage and see how professionals such as David Hallberg and Marcelo Gomes got ready for their shows.
Nikolas: My most memorable dance moment was when I performed last spring in The Last Dance retirement program for principal dancers Alexandra Bergman, Ma Cong and Alfonso Martín. I performed Tulsa Ballet Resident Choreographer Ma Cong’s solo work, Angelo.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-PERFORMANCE RITUALS?
Julian: Right before I go onstage (while I’m in the wings) I bless myself and pray that the audience and I will be happy with my performance.
Silas: I always go over the choreography. However, I practice the first move that initiates whatever I'm about to do. That way I prevent myself from blanking on the choreography once I start.
Jason: Before a performance, I have so much nervous energy that I usually have to let it out before going on stage. I usually do dynamic stretching exercises to warm up my body as well as practicing any steps that I think may need to be tried before the show.
Mason: Not in particular, other than having a small snack and warming myself up without tiring myself out. I mainly try to mentally prepare myself. Since (in a normal situation at least) I know that all the steps are in my body, I don't like to freak myself out by going through the movements too much back stage. I will think about them a little, but instead of frantically marking them I try to put my state of mind into the character/meaning of the movements and try to turn myself into whatever it is that I am trying to dance.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BALLET?
Jason: My favorite thing about ballet is the sheer physicality of it. Dancers get to be up and active all the time; while other certain professions may lead people to develop unhealthy living habits, with ballet I feel that you really can't without sustaining injury. It forces us to take care of our bodies.
Nikolas: My favorite things about ballet are that you get to work with new choreographers and can work all around the world in so many different countries. You get to experience many different works (classical and contemporary) and of course a lot of pas de deux work, where the guys partner the girls. And I like that there’s a lot of differences in technique and style of dancing between classical and contemporary.
Xavier: One thing that I've always found fascinating was the way a dancer portrays a character. If the dancer doesn't put emotion into their dancing, it makes it hard for the audience to understand what the story is about. I love the fact that ballet has so many different characters. When a dancer can give life to a character, is what I believe that makes it that much better for an audience member.
Mason: When I'm performing, I forget about everything else. All of my problems temporarily disappear and for a short moment there is nothing else in existence but me, the people I am dancing with, and the audience. That feeling combined with jumping or spinning can give you a sensation that feels like you're flying. And when I embrace what I'm dancing and I become “it”- that makes me feel alive.