Hello, lovelies! Sorry for abandoning you a bit, there.
After finishing Peter Pan, things slowed down only slightly. I took one day of rest before heading back into the studio to begin work on a project with Alex and Viktor Plotnikov (hint: we are filming a music video!). Viktor is one of my favorite choreographers, not only for the beautiful language of movement his body seems to have effortlessly created as if writing an entire alphabet of steps is just a natural thing to do, but for the coolness he exudes. And I don’t mean the obvious type of cool that makes you jealous, or nervous, or perplexed. I mean a cool so genuinely easy-going and real that you might not believe it comes from the same man whose brilliant mind made dying orchids dance and instruments inhabit their musicians.
Today Viktor started rehearsal by asking me how old I am. After responding, “22”, my mind wandered back through the years, running its fingers through every strangely beautiful ballet of his creation I had ever danced. I remembered Carmen, and Kinetic 2, and The Widow’s Broom, which I jumped into the day before the performance, back in my senior year of high school. I remembered the time we worked together at Jacob’s Pillow, where he set a 3-movement piece in one week, on a 22-person company who had all just met for the first time that day. I remembered Untitled, a solo in which I attempted to unwind a mentally unstable brain, and Blue Canary, where my classmates and I danced like hobos to a Russian song sang by an Italian man in (mostly) English. Then my mind landed on Alone. Set to the soothing strum of a guitar and dressed in simplicity, this piece remained hauntingly true to its title. When I was 16 and performing Alone for YAGP, its eerie mood didn’t quite occur to me; At that age, dancing onstage in a biketard for a hundred strangers and a panel of stiff judges makes it a little tough to feel alone. But when I think of this dance now, I realized how utterly fitting the sad appellation was. It was my first time ever working solo with Viktor, 5 years that feel like 15 ago.
Tugging me from my memories, I hear Viktor say, “I know some people think it’s hell to do this, but I would live for 5,000 years if I could, just to see what will happen to us”, with a laugh. I look up to see him beaming towards no one in particular, a smile as big as the cheshire cat spread across his face and his signature eye twinkle catching the mid-morning light. I’m convinced that’s the secret to his creativity. When children grow into teenagers and then young adults, every day that little twinkle behind their pupils fades a bit, only to be replaced by the cloudy onset of jaded realities. Every day that special light where imagination sprouts becomes duller and duller as we begin to understand the limits that life presents. But the difference with Viktor is, he never lost his sparkle. He has the boundless imagination of a child backed by the brain of a smart, detail-oriented man, and that’s what makes him brilliant.