Premier Magazine - Edinburgh

Edinburgh, August 21st, 2010

One can rehearse for months, but the performance itself always brings with it new growth.

Today’s premier was no exception. It’s like the growth rings of a tree. With each performance an artist becomes more seasoned, experiencing new depths and new heights as the role leaves its mark. The audience adored Viviane Durante’s Adagio Lamentoso. It was a great success! My dear husband was in the audience. I love it when he is there. Of course I make him promise not to be nervous on my behalf, because I would notice. He nods quietly, then appears with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a poem. I adore him!

We performers also surprise one another with gifts on the occasion of a premier. A few kind words of encouragement and a little gift to remind us of the night.

There are as many customs as there are dancers!

At the moment I am carrying a veritable shopping center’s worth of odds and ends with me as I have London for the next few days. A yoga mat, several kilograms of vitamins, organic foods, point shoes, costume, my Himalayan turquoise, an umbrella, a hat, a camera. Of course I have never taken a single picture, which looking back I regret. It seems as if the day went by quickly, though of course a day is always just 24 hours long, whether one has a premier or not.

My only peaceful time of day is when I do yoga and meditate for two hours in the early morning.

What could be running through my colleagues’ heads, I ponder, as I sit wrapped in silence in the cab on the way to the theater. Silence is the best company at such times.

One-and-a-half hours of ballet practice. Indian vitamins. We go through the piece once, then the man doing the lights needs to see it too, so we dance it again. Chinese vitamins. We do two more dress rehearsals on stage. English vitamins. A quick lunch, then back to the theater, make-up, time to get dressed. Tamás comes and reminds me to drink the vitamin potion he drinks himself before concerts. He swears by it. I gulp it down, without a moment’s reflection.

The few moments before I come out on stage with a tremendous jeté are always a nightmare. The many months of practice and rehearsal dissolve in the wings. I think of how I should have practiced some particular scene just one more time. My point shoes are too soft, my arms and legs too heavy, and I worry that my headdress will fall in the middle of a pirouette... oh, no I’m not in the slightest bit nervous. I look at the Himalayan stone in my sweaty palm. But let’s get started, I’d like to get the whole thing behind me. And the next moment I am out on stage. My arms are not heavy, my shoes are not soft. I feel light, and I let some strange force take hold of me and make me dance. It’s an artwork born of the moment, the mysterious magic of the stage. As if it were a single person, the whole audience holds its breath. Tchaikovsky’s last heartbeats. As his swan, as his muse, I die, as his soul, I live.

Again I go up on point and in the increasingly dim light I turn and turn in the eternity of existence.