Quick Change

The following is guest blog by New York City Ballet soloist (and February/March 2010 cover girl) Kathryn Morgan. Stay tuned for more posts from Kathryn!

 

What a whirlwind week I've had! For the past month and a half, I've been busy rehearsing Peter Martins' new ballet for the New York City Ballet's Architecture of Dance Season, as well as our regular Balanchine/Robbins repertoire. I thought I wasn't going to be performing until May 7--but little did I know that a week before our spring gala, I'd end up replacing an injured Janie Taylor in Benjamin Millepied's new ballet. By the way, I hadn't ever seen a step of the piece! I'm not going to lie--I was slightly panicked! They had been working on this piece for weeks and were just starting to really fine-tune details.

So, a rehearsal was scheduled right away for me, and somehow I managed to learn the entire ballet in two hours. I definitely got a great brain workout that day! Thankfully I still had six days (which is actually an eternity at New York City Ballet) to feel comfortable with the ballet and get it in my body. For the next few days I had private rehearsals with Sean Suozzi, my partner for the piece, followed by complete rehearsals with everyone.

Finally, after many impromptu costume fittings, separate orchestra rehearsals, and lots of notes, the performance went exceedingly well. I am so happy that Benjamin was pleased, and even though I wasn't his original vision, I hope I did the ballet justice.

However, the greatest thing for me was how supportive everyone was through this crazy week. The entire cast was so wonderful helping me remember where to go and what came next. At City Ballet, injuries happen all the time, and there are people constantly getting thrown into ballets at the last minute. One of the great treasures of our company is that we are a little family. The encouragement, support, and respect we all have for each other are what make times like this manageable. I don't know how I would have done this without all of my fellow dancers' help. I received many compliments about how quickly I learned the ballet and how incredible it was that I could perform it so well under the pressure of the time crunch, but honestly, without every single person in that ballet, it never would have happened. So I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart! It's times like this that make me realize how special the New York City Ballet truly is.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Coming Back to Ballet After Years Away Has Saved Me During the Pandemic Shutdown

I was 4 years old when I took my first ballet lesson. My mom had dressed me in a pink leotard with matching tights, skirt and slippers. She drove me on a Saturday morning to a ballet academy in downtown Caguas, the town in Puerto Rico where I grew up. I don't remember much from the first lesson, but I do recall the reverence. My teacher Mónica asked the class if someone wanted to volunteer to lead. She was surprised I—the new girl—was the one to raise my hand.

I made up most of the steps, mimicking the ballerinas I had seen on TV and videos. At one point, Mónica stepped in and asked me to lead the class in a bow. I followed her directions and curtseyed in front of the mirror with one leg behind me and a gentle nod. I looked up to find myself in awe of what I had just done.

This was the same feeling I had when, after years away from dance, I finished my first YouTube ballet class at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
La'Toya Princess Jackson, Courtesy MoBBallet

Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks