Two beloved icons, David Bowie and Queen, are the inspiration behind The Washington Ballet’s latest program. As expected, the double bill features a rocking soundtrack, and it will be a spirited send-off to outgoing artistic director Septime Webre. Pointespoke with TWB dancer Sona Kharatian about the company premieres of Trey McIntyre’s Mercury Half-Life and Edwaard Liang’s Dancing In the Street.
What’s Edwaard Liang like in the studio?
Amazing. He’s a very sensitive and spiritual person, so he creates this nurturing atmosphere where you feel like you can be vulnerable and explore things without feeling stupid or insecure. And his partnering choreography is incredible.
These works are a departure from classical ballet. Do you feed off that or is it a challenge?
We do a little bit of everything at The Washington Ballet. I’m just happy that this is the last big program of the season, so we can really dive in and be grounded because we do use different muscles. Trey’s ballet, for example, is very, very athletic. We’re basically busting it out for 50 minutes.
Tell me about the tap sections in Mercury Half-Life.
We’re lucky we have a tapper in the company, Daniel Roberge. It was a nice surprise to see one of my colleagues in a new light. Some of the girls, myself included, do backup dances with him–I’d never tapped in my life! We had a lady come in and teach some of the basic steps. I’m still working on them, but it’s fun.
Since David Bowie passed away earlier this year, does the piece take on any extra meaning?
What timing. It’s unfortunate about his passing, but I’m happy we’re doing it. I feel like I will be giving a tribute, and I’m sure other dancers feel the same way. I grew up listening to Bowie and Queen, so it’s pretty special.
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