Two tall blonds: A chat
American Ballet Theatre's Michele Wiles and David Hallberg fight type in Don Quixote.
Wed Jun 11 2008
Photograph: Rosalie O’Connor
Michele Wiles: We’re still trying to figure out our approach, that’s for sure.
David Hallberg: And the one show we have isn’t going to be the end-all deal. This performance will be the beginning of the process. Remember our first Swan Lake?
Wiles: We were sort of clueless about each other.
Hallberg: You have to start somewhere, and I think you only make the best discoveries onstage. But in regard to being the tall blonds—I think it’s kind of funny. People have come up to me: “You know, I’m very curious about your Don Q. I’m going with a little hesitation.” [Rolls eyes]
Wiles: I think we’re going to shock them. It’s not going to be your typical Don Q that you’re going to see with other casts at the beginning of the week.
Hallberg: Like “Noche Latina.” The million pirouettes, the fire. We’re tall.
Wiles: And we might be a little slower. I’m just going to try to have as much fun with it as I possibly can. It will be kind of fun to not do our norm.
Hallberg: And to not be typecast.
Wiles: Our relationship as a dancer-couple onstage is not your… [Pauses] I guess it’s not as in your face. [Imitates passionate kissing] We’re learning how to have a relationship onstage.
Hallberg: The interesting thing is that Michele and I have made most of our discoveries together—we’ve done a lot of ballets together and we’ve grown individually and as a couple. We read each other better; we’re listening to each other now, whereas before we wanted to do things our separate ways. That does not a relationship make. [Laughs] From what we’ve done so far, Michele’s Kitri is a total flirt. A sassy flirt.
Wiles: So are you!
Hallberg: She’s got it in her. [Snaps fingers] So that’s fun to play off. It’s almost like taming the inner something for her. It might be premature, but I just see a lot of fire in her Kitri. In all the mise-en-scène, she’s flirting with everybody—Don Q, the boys. For me, it’s always about bringing her back.
Wiles: So far, I’ve found David to be a bit sexy.
Hallberg: Are you surprised?
Wiles: [Screams] Yes! And actually really masculine.
Wiles: We’re not going to color our hair. [Glances sideways at Hallberg and starts to giggle]
Hallberg: It’s come up. Not just for this performance—but because I’m so fair that I wash out.
Wiles: But nothing major though, right?
Hallberg: Nothing like Othello.
Wiles: Or…Dorian Gray [when Hallberg looked as if he had shoe polish on his head].Hallberg: Is that what you’re thinking of? Jesus Christ. That performance will never die. That will be my Dateline bootleg special or something. No. I’m going to be a blond. I am a blond. I can’t get away from it. Wiles: We have to be blond together! How about that?
Hallberg: We’re both blond together.
Wiles: It’ll make it even more of a comedy.
Michele Wiles and David Hallberg perform Don Quixote at the Metropolitan Opera House Fri, Jun 13.