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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Choose your own adventure": Wayne McGregor's Chroma

Felix Paquet
Félix Paquet : photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic

Opening Night Debut: Félix Paquet 
Born in Québec City, Québec, Félix Paquet joined the Corps de Ballet in 2014.He makes his debut in Chroma tonight, the opening of Chroma with The Man in Black, Allegro Brillante and Carousel (A Dance).
Is there a different process to learning contemporary choreography like that in Chroma?
Unlike the choreography for a classic piece, there is no set dance vocabulary for an original work like Chroma by Wayne McGregor. When Guest Répétiteur Antoine Vereecken came to work with us on Chroma, he showed us the different positions we had to hit, but how we get to each is up to us. It’s a little like “choose your own adventure," as we physically find the connections between the positions, which is why the work is a little different every time you see it. I’ve never done anything like it. It’s extremely difficult, but I'm also able to put my own individual stamp on it which is so rewarding.
What is it like partnering with the more experienced dancers?
My pas de deux partner is Tanya Howard but I also partner Greta Hodgkinson, Svetlana Lunkina and Xiao Nan Yu. At first I was just shocked that I had the opportunity to dance with them. Initially it felt really intimidating but all of the dancers have been very helpful and supportive. Throughout the rehearsal process the other male dancers have given me pointers, especially when it comes to partnering, which has made me feel more confident and the demanding role a little easier. It has been a great experience and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity. 
What is the biggest difference dancing in a work like Chroma that has a small cast compared to the larger works like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
I think the biggest difference is that dancing in Chroma is very intimate and everyone has more than one partner. In larger works like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I have a very specific role and there isn't always as much interaction between all of the dancers in the work.
I also find that because the cast is smaller and because of the nature of the choreography, we really need to mould to each other and feed off of each other's energy. It's very intense and the result is so magical.

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