The new Romeos
NYCB introduces two new heartthrobs: Zachary Catazaro and Taylor Stanley.
Mon Feb 13 2012
Have you been doing cardio work?
Stanley: [Sheepishly] Not really.
Catazaro: I've been doing the bike every once in a while. I'm ten months out of surgery. I'm trying to get there. I had a bone that was too big in my ankle, and it was pushing into my tendons, so they had to cut it off. I think by this point, I'm in pretty good shape.
In terms of your interpretations, to what extent can you be your own Romeo? Who is your Romeo?
Catazaro: They let you find it, which I feel is a good thing. We're not on chains or anything. They're letting us do our own thing.
Stanley: I feel like they find joy in seeing the diversity in the way we each portray things, and Katie's really good at finding our strengths and seeing our weaknesses and finding a balance in all of that, which is cool, and I think it's cool for her to see, too. It's fun to work with her when she coaches you. She prepares you for your next entrance: to feel what you need to feel before you go out. For the Madrigal pas de deux, she always tries to make me laugh. You've seen Juliet twice already, and you're happy—so you run onto the stage with a pleasant face, smiling. You're looking for her. It's cool to see your coach enjoy it with you and root for you.
Catazaro: It's a team effort.
Stanley: And we're going through the same thing, so she shares with all of us what the other couple may have learned or what Peter said to them about this or that. It's a growing process for all of us.
Do you watch tapes of other dancers?
Catazaro: Robbie [Fairchild] and Sterling [Hyltin]. That's our version.
You should check out Kathryn Morgan and Seth Orza, too.
Catazaro: I watched them dance it. I actually learned the ballet with Katie when I was in the School of American Ballet. I was her original Romeo. That's when Callie [Bachman] was still doing Juliet with Robbie. It was before they switched out the cast and made it with company members. I was brought in almost at the very end of the process, but I was there when things were being choreographed. I remember going through the balcony scene. I was like, "He wants me to do this." [Winces] I was 17.
Was it embarrassing?
Catazaro: Rosemary [Dunleavy], Russell Kaiser and Peter were there. Fayal [Karoui] was there. All these people were in all these rehearsals all the time, and I didn't know who any of them were. I remember I walked in for a sword rehearsal, and Adrian [Danchig-Waring] came up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Adrian. If you need anything at all"—he thought I was an apprentice—"just come to me. I'm the company spokesperson." It was funny. The only scene that I ever did alone with Katie for the full length was the death scene. That was five years ago. But ever since then, I've always wanted to do it.
What are the points in the ballet where you have had more questions than answers?
Stanley: First learning the pas de deux, I was questioning a lot. I was thinking about acting at the same time as trying to partner, and there are so many in-between moments that you can fill it up with something or you can just do nothing and it will be just as meaningful. When you walk up to her in the balcony scene and slowly take her hand, that can be like nothing. But it's something. And then you do your solos. Today, for instance, I would go back to this position—holding my heart each time—but there are so many other things I can do.
Catazaro: When I started watching the tape, as soon as Romeo meets Juliet, I was like, this could go really wrong. It's something that might not read at all. So that's something that I've been thinking about: When we meet Juliet for the first time, we stare at her for a long time. But there are other aspects instead of just staring at her. You have to think, You're 15 and you have a huge crush on somebody the first time you see them. What would your face look like at that point? You can stare or you can stare like, Wait a second. What?
There's that amazing part in the Kenneth MacMillan version, where Juliet is sitting on the bed, and she's trying to figure out what to do without moving. Everything is in her face. Is that what you're talking about?
Catazaro: Yes. It's that process of thinking about what you're feeling. Your face will do what your mind is thinking.
Are there any actors you admire in particular?
Catazaro: I would have to say Johnny Depp. He can just do anything.
Stanley: I don't know—no one in particular. This whole thing is making me want to watch more movies in general and to have new experiences around the city: to go somewhere and do something you've never done before. You want to be reminded of what those new experiences feel like, even if it's just something small.
Catazaro: Be method.