Name: Alexander Peters
Vocation: Soloist at Pennsylvania Ballet
With dancer Elizabeth Mateer (of PAB) for Dancers Among Us. Photo credit: Jordan Matter
Defining Moment on Stage to Date: Having the opportunity to perform at the Vail International Dance Festival with that endless roster of international ballet stars, the open air amphitheater, and an audience who seems to simply live for dance, could not have been a more moving and defining moment for me thus far. What made the experience more personally remarkable were the ballets Damien Woetzel (Artistic Director of VIDF) chose to have the company bring. I was scheduled to perform three times, in four works, in which two of the works had just had their world premieres in Philadelphia only months prior. These were roles that were created just for me and to have the chance to not only dance them again, but also share them on this stage was an opportunity I couldn’t have dreamed of. The first, entitled “La Chasse”, was choreographed by Matthew Neenan, the Pennsylvania Ballet Resident Choreographer and Co-founder of Ballet X, and is a pas de deux set to a Schubert Piano Trio. I don’t think I will ever forget this ballet. It was created nearly 9 months prior to its premiere due to scheduling of the season, and went through so many transformations that the end result was like a culmination of how both Lauren Fadeley and I grew and developed as dancers from the inception of the piece. I was also promoted to Soloist at the premiere of this ballet. The second work, entitled “The Accidental”, was a piece for three couples divided into four parts. Each couple had a duet and the final section was a solo for myself. Trey McIntyre, the choreographer, essentially created this solo for me at the end of a long rehearsal day in just a few hours, throwing out ideas and phrases and I doing my best to interpret and absorb, but the end result was nothing like I could have imagined. It’s open and free, honest and pure, and there is a sincere sense of youthful longing for more that only he could create through movement. The New York Times called it “a bright dance, and yet what it keeps suggesting, very movingly, is youthful perplexity.” These sorts of ballets and moments on stage are in large a huge reason why we as dancers live and love what we do.
With Lauren Fadeley (dancer at PAB), in “La Chasse,” at VIDF Erin Baiano.
Favorite Style of Dance: As I’m exposed to more and more styles and works of dance throughout my career, I’m drawn to new ways of moving, but the most natural and innate way of dancing will always be within the framework of my Balanchine styled training.
Inspiration: Music is always the most inspiring thing in my life. I always have headphones with me (often around my neck, worn like a scarf) so that music is always readily accessible. When I’m dancing, the music always comes first; it is the driving force that allows the movement to happen. Although cliché, its important that the viewer can “see the music”. I also make it a habit to see live music as much as possible. Luckily, Philadelphia has some of the best venues for concerts and there are always several options almost every night of the week.
Favorite Dance Wear Brand: I’m not one for purchasing high-end custom-made dancewear like Yumiko, and have actually accumulated a majority of my rehearsal gear via hand-me-downs from other dancers. Depending on the ballet I’m rehearsing, I sometimes opt to simply wear running shorts and a thermal top. My favorite warm-up attire always consists of a loose sweat pant and oversized sweater. And of course, I always have to wear fun socks.
With dancer of KCB, Tempe Ostergren. Photo credit, Brett Pruitt.
Favorite Energy Breakfast: Two eggs (over easy), wheat toast, potatoes, orange juice, and coffee. Sometimes I’ll have a banana as well.
Favorite thing to do on a “day off” from Work: Almost every week, I frequent myfavorite restaurant and treat myself to brunch. I bring my New Yorker, New York Times, or a book to read and just relax with an excellent meal and endless coffee. If it’s nice out,then I’ll take an afternoon walk along the Schuylkill river park trail.
How do you blow off steam: If it’s been a particularly hard day, or week at work, a longhot bath (preferably with a glass of wine) does just the trick.
Why do you think integration of dance and health is needed: Our bodies are ourinstruments, and they must be finely tuned and taken care of. If you leave a pianounattended, the sound starts to get off key, the strings go bad, and the instrument couldbecome permanently damaged.
What’s next for you: We are beginning our 51st Season at Pennsylvania Ballet, under new Artistic Director Angel Corella, and there is so much excitement for all that lies ahead. My first program consists of the Principal in Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante, Ratmansky’s Jeu de Cartes, and the rare privilege of learning and working on Robbins’ Other Dances with the former Paris Opera Etoile, Isabelle Guerin.