BWW Interviews: Jeffrey and Lia Cirio from the Boston Ballet
The Boston Ballet will perform at The Koch Theater at Lincoln Center from June 25-29, 2014 for their first New York tour. This marks the final performances of the Company's 50th season, which launched at London's Coliseum Theatre in July, 2013. Nominated by The Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for "Outstanding Company", Boston Ballet is internationally recognized for a commitment to classical, neo-classical and contemporary choreography. The Company consists of 56 dancers representing a total of 19 nationalities and will present six dynamic performances accompanied by the Boston Ballet Orchestra. Boston Ballet's programs showcase a century of ground-breaking choreography and the impressive range of this world-class institution as well as two New York premieres - Alexander Ekman's Cacti and a new work by José Martinez. Jeffrey and Lia Cirio are brother and sister and also principle dancers with the company. We spoke to them about their experiences with The Boston Ballet, their training, and coming to New York for the first time. For tickets to the Boston Ballet at The Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, please visit http://www.davidhkochtheater.com/moreinfoBB.html
Broadwayworld Dance recently sat down to interview Jeffrey and Lia.
Where were you born?
Both: We lived in Springfield, PA, outside Philadelphia, when we were children.
When did you first become interested in dance?
Jeffrey: My sister was serious about ballet, so my parents decided to enroll her in the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), which required us to move to Carlisle. Pennsylvania for her training. I had always been involved in sports and martial arts, but at CPYB I saw guys dancing for the first time and decided to take a class.
Lia: Ever since I can remember, all I wanted to do was dance. My mom loves to tell the story of when I was born. Because I was feet first and refused to flip, she had to have me as an emergency C-section baby. When I was finally born the doctor exclaimed, "I think you have a dancer on your hands!"
What about your early dance teachers-any particular influences?
Jeffrey: I've had many influences. Most people know about CPYB. Marcia Dale Weary and the others are infamous for drilling technique into bodies. Marcia taught me the importance of working hard, but it wasn't until I started taking privates with Laszlo Berdo that I felt a big change in my dancing. He taught me men's technique, but it was more than that. With Laszlo, I learned to work through the challenges, the ups and downs of dancing. Later, I had the opportunity to work with Rolando Sarabia and Magaly Suarez. Theirs was a Cuban influence that was important to my technique, but Rolando had an uncanny sense of musicality and taught me to hear music differently. Later in my career, Peter Stark had a large influence in helping me to see the "big picture" of ballet.
Lia: I have had some wonderful teachers. I started early with tap, jazz and ballet. My teacher told my parents that although I was good at all of them, I had a propensity towards ballet. My parents took me to a more advanced ballet school where my teacher, Lori Ardis, after a few years of studying with her told my parents that I should go somewhere where I would be able to study more seriously. It was at that point that we moved to Carlisle, PA, so that I could study at CPYB. All of the teachers there -- Marcia Dale Wearly, Leslie Hench, Darla Hoover, Theresa Crawford--had a big impact on me. But if it wasn't for my earlier teachers being willing to "let go," I would not have had that experience, nor would I be where I am today.
When did you first join a company-which one and tell me something about your experiences there.
Jeffrey: Mikko Nissinen offered me a Boston Ballet II contract when I was 15. Of course, it was wonderful working with the company and taking classes with them, but after a year, I felt that I really was not ready for company life. I wanted to train more, and it was at this point that I worked with Peter Stark for a year at Orlando Ballet. I also had the chance to work with Bruce Marks, a man I had long admired in the ballet world. I danced with the company, but, more importantly, I trained for and did a lot of competition. That experience with a coach made me a stronger dancer. After a year, I started auditioning. I had several offers, but I actually decided to return to Boston Ballet if Mikko would hire me once again, because the rep at Boston Ballet is really amazing.
Lia: When I was 16, I auditioned for Boston Ballet. Mikko hired me then for his second company, BB2, and I joined BB2 for the 2003-2004 season. Being so young in a company was hard and overwhelming at first, but one is forced to quickly learn the ways of company life. One must know whose spot not to stand in; if second cast one learns to know the piece as if in first cast; and one learns that you have to be able to step into any part at the drop of a hat. In addition to all that, I also remember that my first impression of Boston Ballet was how much of a family it was, and still is.