My first summer course was at SAB in 2002 when I was 12 or 13. On the first day, Suki Schorer was on me about fixing my posture, she was on me about stretching and turning out my legs, she was on me constantly for the entire class. I was getting a little teary—I thought she had it in for me. Then after class, she told me she wanted to move me up a level.
There’s something about Suki, her pizzazz. There is such a liveliness about her. It makes you want to work just as hard to give it back to her. She's very hands-on. She especially worked with me on my port de bras. When you’re younger, you just want it to be correct. She said to me, “Move your elbows, make it more fluid.” She said it’s like when you use a plié to get somewhere. It’s the movement before the port de bras that’s important—to connect everything, to coordinate it and make it dance.
We also learned Balanchine works that summer, Concerto Barocco, variations from Agon. I found my musicality at the school. Now, as I’ve grown in the company, I can finesse my musicality and play with it. With any new performance I do, Suki is always there—like my first Allegro Brillante. I love hearing corrections from her and the stories she tells us about Mr. B.
Sometimes it’s hard for young dancers when you first go to a summer intensive. Remember that the advice and corrections are not to beat you down. Just get as much knowledge as you can gain. Try to hear everything and take it in. Don’t get discouraged.
I liked ballet, but I didn’t love it until I went to SAB that summer.