Amazing. He has such a clear vision. The narrative is of utmost importance in The Winter's Tale, and he makes sure that the story is behind every step. He's phenomenal with those things you normally wouldn't think of, like the way he tells me to look into somebody's eyes or how to place my hand. They make a world of difference.
What is particularly challenging about this ballet?
Hermione's solo is quite difficult and it leads into the pas de deux, so from a stamina point of view, that's tricky. But more importantly, I think that carrying a ballet that has such intense emotions is the hardest part. Hermione is a very strong woman. She's pure and innocent and loves her husband and children. And then she's wrongfully accused of adultery, and she pleads her innocence while still maintaining her dignity.
Photo by Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Courtesy NBoC.
What advice would you offer to dancers who are learning narrative ballets?
A lot of people are advised to leave their problems at the door, but when dealing with a dramatic ballet, I think it's almost better to do the opposite. Don't let it affect you so much that you can't get any work done, but take all the experiences that you want to push away and throw them into your character. I think ballet is fantastic in that way because you can use those emotions to make your performance even better.