Ahead of opening night, Anna Lozynski spoke with one of the company's talented dancers, Natalia Alonso.
1. What can the audience expect from the 2009 season of Complexions Contemporary Ballet?
The audience can expect to see a type of “extreme” ballet, exploring different themes along with to a wide ranging musical selection from classical, to the blues, to the music of U2.
2. I understand it is the first time U2 has permitted its music to be used in a ballet. Tell us about ‘Rise’.
'Rise' is a tribute to the music of U2, celebrating its repeating themes of searching for the best in life and hopeful in its possibilities.
3. Which of your roles in the program do you find most challenging, and why?
'Rise' is the most challenging because of its extreme physical requirements. The style of its movement requires full energy and endurance.
4. What can we expect from the costume design?
Typically the costume design is quite minimal, highlighting the dancer’s body, line and the shapes it makes.
5. What differentiates Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson from other choreographers and artistic directors with which you have worked?
Dwight and Desmond’s work is extremely detailed and exact. It demands that you dance it in an extreme fashion, requiring 150% energy and attention to detail.
6. What attracted you to Complexions? How did you come to join this company?
I was attracted to the style of repertory and its fusion of ballet with other types of contemporary dance styles and themes. I auditioned for the company last May along with 100 other dancers and was offered a contract.
7. You joined Complexions in 2008. From a professional perspective, what has impressed you most about throughout your time with Complexions?
I am amazed by the calibre of each individual dancer and artist. The company has always been known for housing the world’s best dancers and the directors encourage excellence.
8. Describe your usual rehearsal day.
We begin the day with an hour and a half ballet class followed by about 5 to 6 hours of rehearsal. We will either work on the upcoming programs to be performed on tour or begin learning other pieces for future shows.
9. Tell us about GYROTONIC® and how that influences your dance technique.
GYROTONIC® is an exercise method developed on a specific set of equipment which functions to strengthen and stretch the body. It incorporates elements of yoga, dance, and swimming into the exercises.
10. Having graduated from Wesleyan University, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Economics, you joined Ballet Hispanico in New York. What inspired you to become a dancer?
I attended college after having suffered a knee injury and having decided to take a “safer” route in life. Once I graduated I realized that I still had a strong desire to perform and work as a dancer. I knew I had no other option but to see if I could fulfil a lifelong dream.
11. Do you have a pre-performance ritual?
I usually listen to music while putting on my make-up. This helps me get in the “zone” and get focused on the performance ahead.
12. Finally, what is one of the first things you do when you arrive in a new country while on tour?
Go out to dinner. I love trying the different cuisines of different countries and cultures.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet opens in Melbourne February 26 and Adelaide March 10
Photo (top right) - Natalia Alonso & Philip Orsano. Photographer Dah-Len