Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Note from New York City Ballet's Taylor Stanley

Ashley Bouder and Taylor Stanley in Balanchine's Square Dance
This post is from Taylor Stanley of the New York City Ballet, who will be performing as part of New York City Ballet MOVES on Sunday, July 31 and Monday, August 1 at the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival.

"It’s hard to believe it’s almost time to pack our bags and head out west for New York City Ballet MOVES’ inaugural tour – first stop the Vail International Dance Festival!  I remember the original meeting I had with Peter [Martins] when he told me he wanted me to be a part of the MOVES tour this summer.  I didn’t really know what the meeting was going to be about; I just hoped it was going to be good news!  When he told me, I was ecstatic.  It’s my first full season as a Corps member with the Company.  I was surprised and honored that he would choose someone so new to be a part of such an exciting new initiative.  He told me the repertory we’d be performing and the new ballets I’d be learning.  I was beyond excited to get started. 

Since my traveling in the U.S. has stayed pretty limited to the east coast, the opportunity to head west to Vail, Colorado is also especially thrilling.  The outdoor performance venue looks stunning and I’m very much looking forward to being in the wilderness.  Aside from a year of two of boy scouts as a kid, hiking and camping outings were rare, but this will be the real thing!  To be surrounded by the gorgeous trees and mountains – that true natural beauty -- will be a wonderful change of pace from NYC life.  Traveling in general is always fun, but traveling to dance and perform is the icing on the cake.

The main part of the tour that I’m really looking forward to is the UpClose: The Male Dancer by Balanchine  program on Tuesday, August 2.  It’s quite a line-up!  Every Balanchine variation on the program is different and each completely integral to the larger ballet it’s excerpted from. Balanchine's incredible variety of steps is what makes him and his ballets so extraordinary. After watching these ballets, you come to recognize all the different challenges he gave himself in creating them. There was always something specific he was trying to get across, and in the end you can really see, not necessarily the story, but Balanchine’s undeniable intention. It’s tangible. That’s really the genius behind it. 

For the UpClose night,  I will be performing the lead male solo from Balanchine’s Square Dance. I absolutely love dancing it. The quiet atmosphere it requires is so purifying to me.  I definitely find something spiritual about it. The dancing beforehand is very joyful and upbeat, and then the lead male appears for the solo with an air of somberness. In that way Square Dance is a nice change from something like Agon or Rubies which are both so focused and fierce throughout.  In the Square Dance solo, I'm able to experiment with my mood and speak to the audience. To perform it is very fulfilling!

There’s really so much I’m looking forward to about this trip and these performances.  I hope Vail enjoys our stay as much as I know we will enjoy ours.  Looking forward to seeing you soon!"

- Taylor Stanley
NYCB Corps de Ballet



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