It’s an exciting thing to have your son perform on the European stage. It’s even more exciting to have him perform in the United States as a professional for the first time, appearing on the same stage graced by so many fabulous dancers before him.
Last month Ron and I took a trip to New York City to see Julian dance at City Center in his U.S. debut. The performance was part of SemperOper Ballett’s 2014-1015 international tour, which began in New York and continued in St. Pölten, Austria, and Paris, France. It will end in Antwerp, Belgium, and Barcelona, Spain.
In fact, the company has rarely toured. So, this tour is a big deal in general. The company performed William Forsythe’s Neue Suite, and Julian danced two pas de deux. He wasn’t on stage long, but it was worth the trip across the country to see the performance.
One of the two pieces Julian performed was choreographed by Forsythe originally on Desmond Richardson, who co-founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Julian considers Richardson one of his teachers and mentors, since he spent two summers at the Complexions Summer Intensive. The fact that he was dancing a role created and performed by his renowned mentor gave the experience special meaning as well. Richardson attended several New York rehearsals and worked with Julian and the whole company prior to the performance.
Since some of you, or your sons, may one day have the opportunity to go on tour, I asked Julian to share a bit of information about what it has been like for him. Here is that interview.
What is it like to take a piece on tour and perform on different stages?
Taking a piece on tour is both stressful and exciting. First, traveling to and from the venue is fairly exhausting no matter how you do it. We have gone both by plane and bus, but at the end of traveling everyone ends up fairly tired.
On the other hand, traveling and living with your colleagues can be fun! It seems to bring the group together, creating a kind of a family.
Additionally, once you’re in a particular city, it’s fairly exciting. I enjoy taking class and rehearsing in new places. Occasionally the venue won’t have the best floors, or something like that, so you have to be careful. But I enjoy the experience—traveling to new places and being paid to do what you love—that’s not the worst thing in the world.
How do you adjust to the new venues quickly so you can perform your best?
I think having a routine in the morning before class—sticking to it even when you are on tour—and making sure to remember it’s still work is also important. It’s easy to think you’re on vacation, but your body is used to the routine you have when you’re not on tour. Yes, your routine or schedule changes a little, but I always try to do what I normally would do.
The stage is another story. At the SemperOper we have a very large stage, so the majority of stages we go to are smaller, which is both good and bad. It’s bad because you have less space to work with and in. That means you have to redo some spacing aspects and such. On the good side, you don’t have to travel as much as you dance!
You need to figure out how hard the floors are, so you don’t hurt yourself. That’s very important.
What was it like to come back to the States and perform in NYC for the first time?
Coming back to New York and performing was a very interesting experience. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it was also my first tour, so I felt a little overwhelmed, I guess. It was nice to have some of my former teachers see me dance as well.
The company goes to Antwerp on February 20 and to Barcelona 0n February 27.