Jahna and Angelica not only have great synergy as a directing team, but off-stage are great friends. Both are twenty years old and in their third season as members of PNB’s corps de ballet. They also share the ability to do “crazy and impossible moves,” according to fellow choreographer Andrew Bartee. To celebrate Angelica’s twentieth birthday, the pair attended a salsa dancing class. Their feet and hips could not stop moving to the Spanish beat for a week after, so this became their inspiration for Jaja y Qua! This flamenco and salsa-inspired piece features three couples and is set to three movements by the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. The palmas(hand clapping), movement of skirts, and virile spins like a toreador(bull-fighter) seem to wave to next season’s mainstage performance of Don Quixote at PNB.
On-stage, this dúo de danza (dancing duo) act as perfect counterpoints to each other, creating an ideal choreographic team. Jahna is naturally detail-oriented and often takes on a coaching role. In rehearsals you can see her working with a individuals dancer to verbalize the choreography and offer feedback. Angelica, on the other hand, acts as more of an “ideas person” who sees the bigger picture. In the studio, she often watches from the front to identify patterns and see what may or may not be working in the piece as a whole. They are yin and yang en pointe!
This is the first time either of Jahna or Angelica has choreographed for NEXT STEP, so they decided to work together on this project. Jahna is excited to be a part of this year’s choreographic showcase because, before joining the corps de ballet, she was on the other side as a Professional Division student with PNB School. NEXT STEP allowed her to shine. Now a choreographer, she feels inspired to be in charge of the creative process for this dance, “Dance serves…to connect with something bigger than ourselves; where there is potential to create what we imagine” says Jahna.
You can see Jahna & Angelica’s premiere on NEXT STEP Friday, June 13 at 7:30 pm. Only at McCaw Hall!
Blog post by Elisa Jordan.
Featured photo: Jahna photographed by Nathaniel Solis.