Paris…I just performed in Paris…PARIS! Just writing it down seems surreal. Performing in the place where ballet itself was started feels like the pinnacle of a ballet career. I just knew PNB’s two weeks in this magical city was going to be quite the ride.
Our very first “ballet” day consisted of taking class with all of the companies performing in the first week of the festival, which was a tribute to Jerome Robbins. The ballet world is very small, and running into so many friends in Paris was such a treat. That night I went to the first of two Robbins programs, which was danced by New York City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. We performed Opus 19/The Dreamer the next three days in the second Robbins program, which included Miami City Ballet and Perm Ballet.
It’s always a breath of fresh air seeing other companies and other dancers from all over. Watching all the different styles and seeing how uniquely each company works was very inspiring. Getting to dance with old friends and watch them shine on stage was the icing on the cake. It was also great making new friendships. I especially loved getting to know everyone from Miami City Ballet, and I quickly bonded with them. I’ll definitely have to plan a beach getaway down there soon!
Week two was PNB’s week at the festival. Going from performing just one ballet to dancing five of the eight works we brought to Paris was quite the shock to the system. Our first day of rehearsal was pretty insane. Having to set ballets we hadn’t rehearsed for a week on a new stage was definitely a challenge, but our company is good under pressure. There’s something about crazy circumstances like these that makes you dig deep and step up your game. Although it was a lot of work, everyone buckled down, focused, and rose to the occasion.
We performed five days in a row, Tuesday through Saturday, which is a schedule that normally only happens during our Nutcracker run. Like I said, I performed five different ballets over this time span. Here’s a rundown of my performance schedule:
Crystal Pite’s Emergence
Jessica Lang’s Her Door to the Sky
Twyla Tharp’s Waiting at the Station
Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata
Waiting at the Station
Waiting at the Station
Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic
Emergence in the afternoon; Her Door to the Sky and Waiting at the Station in the evening
It was quite the brutal week, but it didn’t matter because I was loving every second on that stage. And the fact that the stage was almost the same size as our home stage at McCaw Hall definitely helped with our spacing.
This week was also special because I had 24 family members in the audience Friday night. And no, that’s not a typo: 24 people made the trek out to Paris to have a family reunion and watch me dance. I think I had one of my best shows ever that night. Having their love and support in the audience made all the difference, and I’ll treasure that night forever.
Honestly, I cannot believe that our Paris tour has come and gone so quickly. Sitting here writing this, I’m reminiscing on all the magical moments I had on that stage. I truly do love my job, and getting to perform so much on this tour and in this festival is something I am so grateful for. It’s adventures like this that remind me how lucky I am to be living the crazy, amazing, wonderful, beautiful life of a professional ballet dancer.
Until next time, Paris…