Post by Patricia Delgado, MCB Principal Dancer
My memories of performing in the MCBS Student Showcase are all so wonderful. One of the greatest things about performing when you are a student is the amount of detailed coaching that takes place. You begin working on a ballet months before and spend every day breaking down each step with your teacher so that it becomes so much a part of your muscle memory that when you get to the stage, you can just dance your heart out and enjoy yourself. One of the main lessons I learned from all of my teachers at the School was that if you put the time and effort into every rehearsal, you can trust yourself the day of the performance and really let go. If it weren’t for all of the skills I learned at the School, I wouldn’t have the basic tools I need to continue growing as a dancer in the Company.
When I was a student we did several mini performances/ lecture demonstrations at high school auditoriums and gyms. We had one shot at the stage at the end of the year! That performance became such an important focus in my life, that all of my excitement and anticipation would build up until that very moment when I was finally doing what I love! Now, after 12 seasons with the Company and performing out on stage over 100 times a season, I find myself sometimes craving that feeling of only one show! I believe that craving comes from the incredible memories I have from being a student!
Patricia Delgado as a student at MCBS.
One specific moment that I will never forget was working on Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux my last year at the School with Edward Villella! It was always a nerve wrecking and exciting feeling when towards the end of the rehearsal process Edward would come in and coach us on last minute details. I remember getting more butterflies in my stomach for those rehearsals than for the actual performance. From the minute he stopped us to give us a correction on the very first step of the pas de deux, he was so calm and nurturing that all my nerves went away and it became all about the work and soaking up all of the valuable information he was passing on to us and applying it to the choreography. The way in which he expressed how important it was for us to “sing” the music with our bodies and phrase our steps immediately changed my focus. After many rehearsals trying to perfect the lines I was trying to create and controlling my technique, he showed me for the first time the idea that there are an incredible amount of elements that are important to making a ballet come alive out on stage! For example, when and how to connect to your partner, and how to “attack” the music, and even in a plotless ballet like Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, to ask myself what am I trying to say and communicate to the audience through these steps. I knew from working with Edward in the School how much I wanted to dance for him and continue to learn and grow from all of his knowledge and love of the art form!
Since graduating from the School in 2001, I love attending the Showcase! I look forward to it not only to relive the magic I remember feeling, but to see what new and inspiring young dancers continue to come out of the School! To see such talent is always a reminder of how special and how much hard work it takes to be a dancer!
Patricia Delgado with MCB dancers in Western Symphony. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.