New Season, New Director, New Role

Wallace in rehearsal with James Ihde. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy PAB.

The start of any fall season is always thrilling, but Pennsylvania Ballet's opener comes with extra anticipation. Today through Oct. 26, audiences will get the first peek at the company under new artistic director Angel Corella. (Enter to win tickets here!) The mixed bill features corps de ballet dancer Elizabeth Wallace in Christopher Wheeldon's haunting pas de deuxLiturgy. For Pointe's bi-monthly newsletter, we spoke with Wallace about this exciting new chapter at PAB.

What's the rehearsal process forLiturgy been like?

This is my first principal role with Pennsylvania Ballet and with it being Angel's first program, I was honored that he chose me. He's been really hands-on in the studio and working with us every day. He's had a lot to say, not only about the steps, but about the intention behind the movement and what we're trying to project to the audience.


How would you describe the movement?

It's a romantic pas de deux but it's more about the connection that you have with your partner. Angel has used the image of moving through water a lot. The movement is very fluid. He's also told me I'm supposed to be a strong woman, and he's pushing me to come out of my shell.

 

What's the atmosphere been like since he arrived?

He came a few weeks before the season and started teaching our maintenance classes. He's created such a positive atmosphere--it doesn't feel like there's a lot of pressure or that you're still auditioning. And when he's not teaching, he's taking class with us. I'm not the best turner, so doing a combination next to him is a little intimidating, since he's known for his amazing turns and jumps.

 

Has he offered any helpful pointers for pirouettes?

We're a predominantly Balanchine-trained company, so he has a different view of turns. He hasn't tried to change our technique a lot, but he said, "This is how I do it. This is what works for me." He's opening up more options as far as the classical versus Balanchine technique, and I think we're coming to a happy medium much of the time. He's taking the good things that we do and pushing us in other areas.

 

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