What's it been like having Schumacher, your fellow company member, as your choreographer?
Of course, there's a level of "I'm the dancer, you're the choreographer." That mutual respect is always there. But Troy and I go back a long time--I met him one of my first summers at the School of American Ballet. I hate to sound hokey, but it really is quite flattering to be one of his inaugural dancers for such a momentous occasion.
How would you describe his piece?
It's very energetic and athletic. Once we start, we don't stop. And we don't leave the stage until the last note. We have what he calls a "cool off period" in the middle of the ballet where everything chills out for a second and we're able to catch our breath. But then it picks right back up. It's very high octane.
With any new choreographer, you're trying to figure out his style of movement and how he wants it portrayed. However, this has been a bit easier for me since I've known Troy for 10 years. But you still think, "How does this person work? How do they want the movement to feel?" on top of normal things like adjusting to the tempo, the music, the pianist. Now that we're running the piece, it's "how do we apply all the corrections and still not die?"
Does Schumacher's movement feel natural on your body, or is it different from how you usually move?
It's a bit of a blend. Troy has always had this beautiful attack and precision to his movement, and I feel like I can identify with that energy. But he has a lot of stuff he wants to do to the left that I naturally want to do to the right. His movement is about exploring, it's not classicism.
What else are you looking forward to this season?
There are a lot of great classic ballets coming back, but I'm also looking forward to what is going to be bittersweet--Wendy Whelan's retirement. She's always been such a figure, a huge support system and just a wonderful person and colleague.