While dancing excerpts of August Bournonville's Napoli this summer at the Massachusetts-based Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the artists of the Royal Danish Ballet were in perfect sync. The dancers exuded pure cheer, from their buoyant, clear footwork to the precise angle of their épaulement. This seemed fitting for a national company where most members train in the Danish style from age 7 and feed in from the school. Yet three of the principals onstage—Amy Watson, J'aime Crandall and Holly Jean Dorger—are in fact American.
Harper Watters with Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy HB.
Deciding to pursue a career in dance is huge. But even with your eyes firmly on your goal, figuring out the best track to get you there can be confusing and stressful. What school to go to, which teacher to follow, and when or whether to leave home are questions all ambitious dancers face, and there's no right answer for everyone. Behind every successful dancer lies a path riddled with difficult decisions and moments of doubt. Often, coming to a fork in the road means making a realistic assessment of what your needs truly are. These three dancers faced tough choices at crucial moments in their training years, but pushed outside their comfort zones and took risks that ultimately paid off.
Royal Danish Ballet star Amy Watson will perform as a guest artist in Oregon Ballet Theatre's fall production of Amore Italiano, which will include Act III of the Bournonville ballet Napoli, and the world premiere of Sub Rosa by James Kudelka.
OBT has gone to great lengths to study the Bournonville style in preparation for this production. Frank Anderson, a Bournonville expert and the former artistic director of the RDB, set Napoli on the company and helped organize a sponsored trip for six OBT dancers to study at the Bournonville Summer Academy in Copenhagen. The dancers spent a week intensively studying Bournonville repertoire and technique.