It seems funny things always seem to happen. Yesterday I was invited to a dinner to introduce ABT to some of Chicago's donors. Chicago is a growing audience for the arts and is clearly showing its understanding of the necessity of arts in life. For me, the arts, and dance in particular, is medicine for the soul. It helps to brighten up your mind in many ways.
I was able to see and spend some time with ABT principal dancer and good friend of mine, Marcelo Gomes, at the event last night. Marcelo is a virtuoso of dance...the complete dancer, excellent at all genres, an amazing partner and performer. I have known Marcelo for more than 14 years now, going back to the time when we were both students at the Paris Opera boarding school. Somehow our paths are never far apart. It's like we are going in the same direction, on parallel paths, and once every year I am fortunate enough to reconnect with him for an event, performance, or gala.
The truth is, I have always strived to be a complete dancer. There is a very clear style in certain forms of dance, ie. ballet, where there is a defined style, clean, precise, and very disciplined. The neo classique style uses ballet placement and position but with a little twist of modern movement. And as always, the modern style requires a ballet technique to be able to execute movement off center. The structure itself does not have to be strictly ballet anymore.
For most dancers, the tendency is to stick to what they know happens frequently, but is understandable. The discipline of ballet itself if already so hard, that it makes sense dancers strive for excellence in just one discipline.
To me, however, I love the change of style where it is possible to endorse a role in a certain genre one minute, and then 20 minutes later work with another choreographer to become a completely different dancer. This is what I love about dance and the Joffrey in particular. The Joffrey offers this mix of style....I do believe the Joffrey has one of the the richest repertoire of all ballet companies in the world.