On September 22, ABT Principal dancer, Marcelo Gomez, visited the studio to speak with the NYU Master’s degree candidates about partnering, teaching methods, and choreography.
Our ABT director, Sascha Radetsky, opened the Q&A and then we were invited to ask Marcelo questions about his life, experiences, and thoughts.
I immediately wanted to ask these two amazing dancers- and clearly good friends due to the way they joked and talked about shows they did together- if they would recreate any of these poses from Othello (photos from In Classic Style- Nancy Ellison) Good job me, on just imagining it instead.
Here were a few points that I found especially interesting:
1. Marcelo does ALL of the ballet, variations and everything, before performances. He says that doing so helps with nerves, and makes it seem ‘not as big of a deal’ if he can tell himself he’s just done those harder moments before the audience shows up.
2. During his training in France at age 16 or 17, his teachers helped him hone technique, especially petit allegro and footwork. He also says he had a teacher that asked students after barre to do grand plie in the center right into an Italian changement. 8 times. He kind of laughed when thinking about it, but it was clear it was a , ‘man, was that crazy’ kind of way.
3. An acclaimed partner (the CHOSEN partner for Diana Vishneva’s last ABT performance coming up in June– I’m getting my tickets soon!) Marcelo says his approach is to be humble but also have control, that it’s important to breath together, that he uses the mental image of water running down, and how much he enjoys seeing his partner enjoy those ‘rapturous moments of full glory’. (How could anyone dancing with him NOT be rapturous? Come on.)
4.In choreography, he likes to come into rehearsal with something prepared but then likes to see where his dancers take the steps, because he likes having that freedom as a dancer working with a choreographer. He also said he tries to be careful of repetition in choreography when it’s not supporting the work, but rather a lack of new material.
5. Marcelo describes his process of preparing for dramatic roles by first learning the story, then forgetting what is heard and just getting into the steps. He talked about the importance of layering textures to how the character would do things so that his performance of Romeo (like the one I saw in 2013) doesn’t look and feel the same as Albert, or Othello, or any of those generic princes. (He didn’t say that last bit, that’s my opinion).
6. He also told us his personal superstition/ritual before going on stage. But I’m going to keep it a secret.
Thank you Marcelo for the eye candy! I mean…..inspiration.