Ballo in Barcelona

Boston Ballet dancers at Teatro Coliseum in Barcelona

Go behind the scenes with Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranaga as she blogs from the company’s Spain tour —plus photos!    

I’m writing from Barcelona, Spain where I’m on tour with Boston Ballet for five weeks and in six cities throughout the country. We just flew into Barcelona last Saturday, all 45 dancers and some staff, which was an experience. I fell asleep on the plane leaving Boston before we even took off.

We’re performing at the Teatro Coliseum, which is definitely a European theater. It has a beautiful façade and our name in lights on the front. I’ve been dancing Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina and Helen Pickett’s Tsukiyo while in Barcelona. So far I’ve been on every night, all four performances. I’m off tonight, and then dancing again tomorrow.

Ballo is one of the hardest ballets I’ve done. It’s challenging, but I like the challenge. I was very lucky to work with Merrill [Ashley] for this ballet. She was so inspiring. She was the original cast and worked with me on so many of the details and shared her experiences onstage. She gave me so much encouragement and so much confidence with this ballet.

I’m dancing with James Whiteside in Ballo and he’s great to dance with! We’ve danced a lot together this season and this is our first year of being principal dancers together. I feel good with him because we’ve grown up together in this company, we’re about the same age and he makes me feel very calm to dance with because he has good energy. He’s very inspiring because his technique is so solid and I feel like I always have to be solid too. I think we inspire each other. (I hope he thinks so!)

I have two casts of Ballo and also dance with Jeff Cirio. (I do quite a lot of Ballos on this tour!) Jeff is a first year corps, very different from James, but he is amazing in this ballet. It’s nice to be able to dance with two different partners and feel different energies onstage every night.

I’m also dancing Tsukiyo while on tour. It was created this season for three couples by Helen Pickett. I dance with Yury Yanowsky. The music is by Arvo Pärt.  There is set choreography, but no set musicality, so all three couples do it differently and all three couples look totally different. It can almost look like three different pieces.  I love working with Helen, she’s a very intelligent choreographer and working with her this time, on this intelligent piece, made me think a lot about life.

It’s exciting to perform in front of audiences that are in different countries and different cultures. I’ve heard a lot of comments that people have never seen Balanchine’s ballets before. So, this is a great opportunity for us to perform and show American ballet.

More from me next week! I’ll be in San Sebastian and Santander.

To see a great video of what the dancers are up to this week click here!

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