Behind the Scenes: Don Quixote with Principal Dancer Maria Chapman

PNB principal dancer Maria Chapman as Mercedes in Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote.
Photo © Angela Sterling.

What role(s) are you learning for Don Quixote? Have you danced in other Don Quixote productions before?
This will be my first production of Don Quixote, and I am learning two roles; Mercedes and the Queen of the Dryads. Mercedes is a sassy street dancer, and she enjoys showing off by dancing around the bullfighters’ knives. The Queen of the Dryads is a beautiful nymph who appears in Don Quixote’s dream, in Act 2.

What are you excited about for this premiere of Don Quixote?
I am excited to work with Alexei Ratmansky again. I enjoyed working with him briefly on Concerto DSCH last season, and I look forward to spending more time with him working on Don Quixote.

How long have you been rehearsing for this production?
I rehearsed Don Q for a couple of weeks in August, and we rehearsed for a few weeks in December, in addition to performing the Nutcracker. Now that it is January, we’ll concentrate fully on Don Q as we ramp up for the February performances.

What has the process been like, learning this ballet?
Learning the new production of Don Q has been fun because many wonderful guest stagers have visited Seattle to teach us the choreography.

What preparations do you do, outside of rehearsals, to prepare for new roles and/or performances?
When I am learning a new role, I study videos of dancers performing the roles I am learning. I can look up a lot of these clips on YouTube to see how dancers all over the world dance my roles. As always, I spend a lot of time prepping my pointe shoes!

Pacific Norhtwest Ballet Presents
Don Quixote at McCaw Hall
February 3-12, 2012
TICKETS: 206.441.2424 or

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