Jamie Scott

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You can't put a price on freedom.
No, it's true. Most of the stuff that we were doing was created on us; we were running it over and over again. Or things that we had learned but Merce then worked on us with, so we had a lot of freedom. And then I got in the company and he died shortly after, and all the roles I got—a lot of them were Holley's, which was already like, Oh my God. I have to do this thing that Holley Farmer did? And then older revivals. It just took awhile to figure out how to make them my own. Still, there's something about that.

What else do you love to dance?

I love to do Pond Way . Because I have this great duet that's very textural for me. It's very smooth and quirky and heavy, and I feel like I get to be myself in it. I get to move my back a lot, and it feels good. I love doing Split Sides . I love working on the duet with Dylan—the way that we are able to interpret what Holley and Daniel did and make it our own. I love taking risks, and it's all about taking risks. So that's fun for me. BIPED still terrifies me. [ Laughs ] It's the hardest thing. We always start the first week back with BIPED , and I'm like, Why do we start with this piece?

Why is it terrifying?

It's just hard. It's really hard. There's a lot of balancing; it's not my favorite thing to do. I have a great duet with Melissa that I really love, and that's probably my favorite part of the piece. It's the one thing I get to do with her. I like Events . I got to do this really fun trio with Dylan and Jen [Goggans] that was something that we had done as RUGs. I loved just getting to do some of the things that I worked on with Merce.

How did your relationship with Merce change when you got into the company?
You know it's hard to say, because it was so brief. So I don't think it had time to change much. My relationship was as a RUG with him. And I'm so grateful for that. The first time he called me over to talk, it was so exciting. He would do that all the time. He'd run us into the ground, and then we'd go down by his chair by the end of the day and he'd tell us stories. It was really special. He told a story about meeting Gypsy Rose Lee once. He told us stories about a lot of his contemporaries, and then he would talk about touring and the birds and different things.

Was he around a lot?

Yeah. Really up until the last two weeks. He was really there. I would say the last two months he may have started leaving a little bit earlier than he used to, or he'd take a little bit of a longer nap than he used to, but it was a very quick change actually.

Did you know what was going on?

Kind of, yeah. I feel like maybe Trevor [Carlson] talked to us a little bit, or Robert would talk to us, to say that he was getting tired and he needed more time. And then he was going to the physical therapist.

How did you guys deal with that aspect?
Not too well. It was hard. We really wanted to be dancing for him, and he couldn't be on all the time.

Who do you dance for now?
You know what? That's the big change. We dance for ourselves now. It's kind of neat; I don't think it's anything any other generation ever got to do. I mean, always to some extent, but when Merce is there, you're always dancing for Merce in some way, so it's sad, but it's also a privilege to be able to do this work for yourself. And not to have to compete and audition for spots to get Merce's attention all the time.

Because this is it. There's no competition in that way.

Not really.

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Janet Soares
Janet Soares

Lovely, honest interview. I really enjoyed reading it!