The Kennedy Center will be overrun with ballet dancers this week. The third Ballet Across America festival starts today, and it’s a truly national celebration: The three programs feature Richmond Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Sarasota Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Austin and Pennsylvania Ballet. Amy Aldridge, a PAB principal who performed in the festival’s first incarnation, is back to do Choleric in The Four Temperaments.
What does it feel like to dance on the stage of the Kennedy Center?
The Kennedy Center stage is like home for me. When I was growing up, my family and I saw many dance companies perform in that theater. At the time, I never imagined I would get to dance on such a beautiful stage, but here I am! It's funny—my first year in Pennsylvania Ballet we toured to the Kennedy Center, and I'm pretty sure this will be my fifth time performing here. There's a sense of peace and freedom I find on that huge open stage. I feel like I can spread my wings and soar.
What’s most challenging about dancing Choleric in The Four Temperaments?
Choleric is the very last to go on in the ballet, and you feel shot out of a canon. Sometimes I get so much adrenaline pumping, I actually knock myself over from too much force. I have to try to maintain a certain balance so I can ride the adrenaline but still be in control.
What do you most enjoy about taking part in this festival?
What better way to represent ballet than to have all these companies to perform as one?