It’s been a huge year for dance on Broadway: Think of the leaping sailors in On the Town, the tapping porters in On the Twentieth Century, the reeling Parisians in Gigi, the gliding 82-year-old Chita Rivera in The Visit. But the most exciting new offering for dance fans has been An American in Paris, the lavish, movement-drunk musical that unabashedly returns serious ballet to the Great White Way.
Director and superstar choreographer Christopher Wheeldon won this year’s Tony Award for best choreography, and its triple-threat stars—New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope—were nominated for acting awards. But Wheeldon doesn’t just have his performers doing ballet; he also requires virtuosic Broadway hoofing, pseudo-Balanchine modernism, midcentury movement à la Gene Kelly, even a kick line. How do they survive the grueling demands of the show? In this exclusive video, Wheeldon opens his rehearsal room, and the stars let us in on the secrets of their stamina—and how they feel when they hear the swelling strains of Gershwin’s gorgeous score.