Company dancer Alexa Torres joined The Washington Ballet in 2018. She’s taking a look back at all the roles she’s performed and sharing her three favorites with us on this #ThrowbackThursday.
In my past three seasons with Julie at TWB, I have had the pleasure of learning and performing some of the most beautiful pieces ever. They have all been so thoughtfully chosen for our company and have also been full of memories, friendships, and hard work. Three pieces come to mind as my favorites, my three loves.
Serenade by George Balanchine
The first piece that came to mind almost instantly was Serenade by George Balanchine. We learned this piece when I was in my first year at TWB as a trainee. I was so new to Balanchine choreography and it was intimidating to me. I remember trying to learn the steps, the musicality, the dynamics and I was so out of my comfort zone. It is such a precise piece with such strength that I knew I wanted to perform it. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. As the weeks of learning this technically difficult and musically exact piece progressed, I became obsessed with every part of it. I would go home and listen to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score and would watch the ballet over and over again.
Standing there with 16 other beautiful women in the open scene was probably the most empowering moment of my entire life. Whenever the curtain rose and the music began, I would get chills down my entire back. The ballet has its own emotion, and it is impossible not to feel it so intensely. Serenade was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding ballets I’ve ever done.
Julie Kent and Victor Barbee’s The Sleeping Beauty
In my second year with TWB, my first year as a Studio Company member, I performed Julie’s absolutely stunning The Sleeping Beauty. Big ballets have always owned a special place in my heart, especially this one. Tchaikovsky’s music, costumes, and storyline make this ballet something I could watch over and over again. Julie staged it for our company and for our stage. She made it faster, more dynamic. It was so musical and port de bras centered, two of my favorite things. When she started teaching me the role of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Fairy of Joy” I could see her vision and felt so eager to fulfill it. She was very specific and clear about what she wanted, and I loved that. It had the perspective of a ballerina.
Méditation from Thaïs by Sir Frederick Ashton
The third piece and probably my favorite yet, has been Sir Frederick Ashton’s Méditation from Thaïs. I remember when Julie first told me I was learning it, I looked it up instantly. Immediately I recognized the music, it was my childhood. It took me straight to my first ballet lessons, the introduction to my love for classical music. It was also such a pleasure to work with Grant Coyle because he has so much to offer. He really brought Ashton’s vision to life. It was very particular and specific. This piece was definitely unlike anything I have ever learned. I had to trust and take risks. My partner was Oscar Sanchez, who taught me so much about partnering as well. The challenge we took on allowed me to grow both as a partner and as a student. Though I never performed it, watching my inspiring coworkers was the most fulfilling feeling ever. The atmosphere made in that piece was ethereal and unexplainable. The audience was left breathless by the dancers. The costumes, although quite challenging to dance in, really made “Thais” one of the most beautiful pas de deux I’ve ever seen.