To The Manner Born

What do you enjoy most about your career as a ballet dancer?
Being able to transform myself into other characters and also doing pas de deux work.

What do you enjoy least?

To whom or what do you attribute your success?

I owe both Monica Mason and Jonathan Cope for coaching me.

What role that you haven’t danced would you most like to try?

Des Grieux in Manon.

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen on stage?

Romeo and Juliet
with Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Cope.

Of which accomplishment are you most proud?

Dancing in A Month in the Country opposite Darcey Bussell.

If you could work with any choreographer, living or dead, on a new ballet, who would it be?

Rafael Bonachela, the former Rambert Dance Company dancer-turned-choreographer who now heads up Sydney Dance Company.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone hard-working in the studio and a good partner.

What inspires you?

People from all walks of life who are at the top of their game. The best!

What would you like to be doing 20 years from now?

Either coaching and teaching—or maybe nothing to do with ballet.

What qualities do you admire in other dancers?

Everyone brings something to the stage, but what I admire most is others’ acting skills.

What qualities do you dislike?

When somebody reaches the top and then becomes big-headed.

What skill would you most like to learn?

To play the piano.

Who do you admire most?

Jonathan Cope.

Do you have any qualities that you would consider particularly “British”?

Yes, my name!

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Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

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#TBT: Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Coppélia" (1976)

Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov share the unique experience of having danced at both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet during their careers. The two overlapped at ABT in the mid-'70s, where they developed one of the best-known partnerships in ballet. They were both celebrated for their dynamism onstage; however, in this 1976 clip of the pas de deux from Coppélia, Kirkland and Baryshnikov prove they are also masters of control.

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Natalia Voronova, Courtesy Bolshoi Ballet

The Bolshoi Is Back Onstage: We Went Inside Bryan Arias' Latest Work

This summer, when parts of the world were slowly emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown, all live performing arts events having been canceled or postponed, choreographer Bryan Arias found himself in Moscow creating a brand-new work for the Bolshoi Ballet.

Arias, who was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in New York City's Spanish Harlem, and danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Kidd Pivot, had been invited by Bolshoi artistic director Makhar Vaziev to be part of an impromptu program of contemporary choreography titled Four Characters in Search of a Plot. Three other international choreographers—Martin Chaix (France), Dimo Milev (Bulgaria) and Simone Valastro (Italy)—had also been asked to participate. This program, unusual by all standards for Russia's esteemed classical ballet company, opened the Bolshoi's 245th ballet season on September 10. Eager to resume live events, the theater introduced a number of safety regulations for audience members, including limited and spaced-out seating, temperature checks upon entry and audio messages reminding patrons to wear masks and maintain social distance.

Below, Arias talks about his trip to Russia and his experience of creating his new piece, The Ninth Wave, on the Bolshoi Ballet dancers.

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