Boston Ballet is about to take off for England for a six-performance run at the London Coliseum next week. To show off the company's range, the dancers will be performing Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun, Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements, resident choreographer Jorma Elo’s Plan to B, Forsythe’s The Second Detail,  Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and Kylián’s Bella Figura. How does a dancer prepare for such an intense program overseas? Principal Kathleen Breen Combes gave Pointe a peek inside her process.

 

What are you most looking forward to about the London tour?

Getting to dance in London for the first time! It's a huge hub for dance media and I'm excited to show them what Boston Ballet has to offer.


How are you preparing?
 

Physically, it's been intense. We've had a long season and I'm trying to stay in top shape without getting injured. Also, we're bringing quite a diverse repertoire, and it's tricky on the body to switch back and forth so frequently. But I'm doing what I would for any other hard program: Preparing as much as I can, so I can let go on stage.

 

Do you have any airplane tricks? 

Compression socks are a must-have. I learned that the hard way: I once landed in Korea with ankles that looked like elephants! I spent the night with my feet in ice buckets and prayed they would fit into pointe shoes the next day.

 

What's the most challenging part of performing on a new stage?

It's so interesting how you get used to dancing on a particular stage. A new theater takes some adjusting. I try to get on stage before the first rehearsal to get a feel for the floor and lights. A lot of it is mental; I try to not focus on what is different. Usually you only have that one rehearsal, so you don't want to waste it worrying about things you can't change!

 

What's your least favorite part of touring?

Checking into the hotel with 60+ people after traveling for hours!

 

Best part?

Getting to experience new audiences and their reactions to what we do. It reenergizes the dancers as a group, and we come home a stronger company because of it. Plus, I get to travel to wonderful places and experience different cultures. It's a lot of work—but also a lot of fun.

 

 

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy