New PNB’s corps de ballet dancer: Charles McCall



PNB’s corps de ballet dancer Charles McCall. Photo © Angela Sterling. 



1. When did you start dancing? I started dancing just after I turned 9.

2. Why ballet? The reason I chose Pacific Northwest Ballet is because I want to be able to do all kinds of dance, ballet certainly, but also modern and contemporary, and PNB has a nice mix. I love all movement and I am attracted to ballet more so because my parents are classical musicians, and focusing on a more classical style of dance is my way of honoring their choice in career.

Honestly I started ballet with the sole purpose of getting better technique for my other dance styles — modern, jazz, and tap — but when I was 11 I took my first men’s class and discovered how challenging and exciting ballet can be, and I started moving it more and more into the center of my focus.

3. Who/what inspires you? A lot of things inspire me. Poetry, music, nature, dance… In some ways a better question would be what doesn’t inspire me, given the right time and mindset.

A big inspiration for me right now is my older brother, Andrew. He swam through college and when he was swimming that became his whole life. He ate for swimming, he planned for swimming, he worked out for hours so he could swim faster. I think about him a lot and his dedication to swimming inspires me in my dedication to dance.

4. What ballet are you looking forward to season? Well honestly the season is so exciting I’m not entirely sure. I am really excited to go on tour with the company, first with Diamonds and then later with Romeo et Juliette, but our season here is almost as exciting. If I had to pick one I would say Concerto Barocco. Even though I won’t be in it I am really excited to see it. I learned it when I was 14, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

5. What has been most challenging about joining the Company? Probably finding a barre spot for company class.

6. What has been most rewarding about joining the Company? Getting out onstage almost every rep. As a student I didn’t get nearly as many performances, and it’s so great to get them.

7. Favorite snack: I don’t have one. It all depends on what’s in my fridge.

8. Favorite Seattle restaurant: The Athina Grill. It’s a small Greek place practically right around the corner from me.



Charles McCall in the 2011 School performance. © Rex Tranter.

 9.  What are you reading now? Bullfinch’s Mythology. I have always been a big fan of sci-fi/fantasy books and I am really interested in where all the creatures come from and how the authors change them into what are now commonly known. So I go back and read the myths and legends from which they came, when I have the time and, more importantly, the books to do so.

10. What is Seattle’s best secret? I haven’t discovered it yet!

11. What did you do this summer? I spent a lot of it here, working with Kiyon Gaines and Mark Morris on their new works, as well as spending time with my little brother who took the PNB summer course and lived with me for the duration. Other than that I spent time traveling the country a bit, seeing family and friends from the West Coast to the east.

12. Where do you hope to be 20 years from now? Hopefully ending or just having ended a glorious career as a principal dancer.

13. How do you prepare for a show each night? It’s different every time. I generally eat beforehand, something light to keep me up and running, and head over to the theater. At the theater my routine varies depending on how active my role is in the ballet. Sometimes I just put on my costume and makeup, head up to the stage and sit talking to people, while other times I do some barre to get my legs moving before I head onstage.

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