Fri Dec 16 2011
Do you rely on other dancers to help you or watch you?
We do. Everybody's watching more, and pretty much across the board everyone's been pretty open to giving and receiving feedback, which is really nice.
Do you think that the company should fold?
The million-dollar question. You know what? I think it should. As much as I don't want it to end—I mean, really the thought of not working with these people and in this way any more breaks my heart—I think that without someone like Merce to keep moving forward, it's just going to fizzle out. Our relationships with each other will fall apart. The whole thing will start to collapse, and that will be the worst. I don't blame Robert for not being that way; I don't think he can be that way. Merce was a visionary, and no one can replace him in that respect. This is his work. And reconstructing pieces, or going back and giving notes in rehearsals—sometimes we start going backward. What's going to happen in five years? We're just going do it the way they did in the '70s and never think about how people do it now? It's hard to actually admit that. I don't know if I've ever admitted that officially, but I think the longer this has gone on, the more clear it becomes. And not to say that the work shouldn't be done. Absolutely, the work should be done.
Do you think the work can be done with integrity?
That's hard. I don't know. I've never seen anyone else do the work. It's sort of amazing the transformation that takes place from being a student at the studio to an understudy and a company member, and when you see people go through it the way they approach moving—and you see it when you teach class. Some people are so concerned about form and everything. It's takes them a while to learn how to do it and to dance the work. And that's something I hope that we can help with in universities or wherever the work is being taught: to encourage people to explore the movement with their own bodies and find ways to make it dance.
Do you teach at the studio?
I do. I don't teach very often, but it is an interest. I like teaching. I think it's another thing I'm going to have to learn to be more comfortable with and grow into, but I know that it's in me. I have to figure out how to groom it.
Have you figured out what you might do?
I have not figured out that out yet. I want to keep dancing. I don't want to stop now. I have long-term plans, but next year, who knows? I mean, I hope there's work that I can do that's inspiring to me.
What do you mean long-term plans?
I've been doing a lot of Alexander [technique] work, sort of on the side. It was like a rehab for myself, and I know that I would like to teach that. It's really interesting to me, and it's helped me so much. So I know I want to become an instructor, but I think that requires more time than I can give and dance. So that's on the long track, but next year...
You want to keep dancing, but where do you go from Merce?
I know. I really miss being part of the creative process. I miss creating a lot. I think that's where most dancers find their strengths and their power.
Was it a surprise that that's where you found yours?
It was. I was so nervous the first day he started. I'd been an understudy for maybe two or three weeks, and then he started making something, and I was like, Oh my gosh. Here we go. It was a shock, and I was terrified, but it was so fun for me. It was like the most complex game of Simon Says I've ever played. [ Laughs ] I think that's probably when he started seeing me the most.
Can you talk about what it was like seeing him for the last time? Did you go to his apartment?
I did. We went twice. We went before we went to Wolf Trap and we said goodbye. Merce Skyped with us the night before that show at Wolf Trap. That was my first show, as well as Dylan's and Krista's. It was in my hometown; it was so exciting. He talked to us briefly on Skype, and what stuck the most is that he told us not to show off, but just to do something. I was like, yes , that's why I like your work. Because that's what people do—they just commit to your work fully, and it's not about the showing off or the acting things out. And then you can see who people really are. Then we went again when we got back, before we went to Jacob's Pillow, and I think I was with Andrea [Weber] and Marcie [Munnerlyn]. I was with a group of girls who had gone to a dance class somewhere to learn the "Jai Ho" dance from Slumdog Millionaire , and they did it for Merce. It was so funny.