Come spring time I like to ponder the happenings of the past year in hopes of creating new, exciting & inspired expectations for the coming one. I like to think back on what I was doing this time last year…Last Spring I had the pleasure of touring the Crown Prince & Princess of Denmark’s castle, after a royal renovation. The Royal family was so kind as to share their progressive improvements to the Amalienborg Palace, where they invited artists to paint murals on different walls within, adding unique angles and urban decoration to an otherwise historically preserved gem.

What I loved about this bold approach to ‘redecorating’ was the way they tied metropolitan art (modern murals & lighting) into gold crowned molding and the history of the castle’s past. The jewel-toned paint colors of adjacent walls reflected just the right amount of Royal charm amongst empty bookshelves & white-washed wooden floors…Perhaps the most prominent detail that painted my memory were the antique mirrors— The rose-tinted panes of ancient glass were purposefully chosen to reflect the subject in his or her ‘best’ light — a ‘natural’ rosey glow, comme il faut.

As dancers we look at ourselves in the mirror all day long….perfecting this angle or that line…fixing our hair, scrunching a leg warmer…In a rehearsal for our upcoming production, Lady of the Camellias, I challenged myself to see beyond the mirror into the character I am trying to embody. Olympia is a confident courtesan, smitten by one too many suitors, who flanks upon the lovers of her ‘friends’ – one in particular, Armand. Her personality is confidently convincing, yet desperate with vulnerable indiscretion…

I love the idea of creating a character…taking on the past, present and future thoughts or actions of someone, even for a fleeting moment can be so liberating. A lot of the freedom in rehearsing this type of role comes from doing research behind it. From reading the novel to watching different versions of the ballet, understanding the context in which your character develops can make all the difference.

Be it rose-tinted reflections or the simple memory of ambling through royal castles, creating a character has to do with transporting yourself to another time, another place, another person. A process that I am learning to relish from start to finish…

Here’s to exploring Roles & Realities.

~p.e.