Starting last week, dancers from around the world gathered in Bulgaria for the prestigious Varna International Ballet Competition. For the first time, two Nashville Ballet dancers, Alexandra Meister and Nicolas Scheuer, have been chosen to participate. Pointe spoke with Meister before she and her partner jetted off to the competition.
What's it been like rehearsing?
We have most of the summer off from Nashville Ballet, so we've been juggling other side jobs and rehearsal. Typically we'll take class in the morning and come back in the evening to rehearse. We've been preparing the Sugar Plum pas for the first round. If we make it to the second round, Paul Vasterling has created a piece on us, and we'll also do the Black Swan pas de deux, which is a beast. And then for the third round, company dancer Christopher Stuart choreographed a piece for us, plus we'll be doing a Le Corsaire excerpt.
Is there anyone on the jury you're eager to meet?
Aurora Bosch. She's a Cuban judge who coached Ana Lobe, who was my ballet teacher growing up. Ana competed at Varna when she was my age, so that's a neat thing that we're going to share.
How does competing help you as a professional dancer?
It's definitely going to be a big leap forward for us artistically, and even stamina-wise because these are some big pas de deux to get through. As a professional, I don't think you should ever feel like there's a point where you're done growing. This is about improving myself, working on my partnering and learning something. Doing things like this re-inspire me.
Last night, Varna announced the 44 competitors—out of more than 100—that advanced to the second round. Unfortunately, Meister and Scheuer were eliminated, but you can watch the remaining performances live online through July 30.