BWW Reviews: Benefit for Youth American Grand Prix Comes to Life
Benefit for Youth America Grand Prix
On January 27, 2014, in a large studio at New York's City Center, I had the pleasure of attending a benefit for YAGP, hosted by Barbara Brandt. American Ballet Theatre principals, Marcelo Gomez and James Whiteside, and soloist Misty Copeland gave up their day off to participate in this exhibition.
When the audience entered, Misty Copeland and James Whiteside were warming-up at a portable barre, in the middle of the studio. When some people entered, Ms. Copeland greeted and hugged them, her effervescent personality on display. She is a delightful, happy individual. As her public and friends were seated, she went back to the warm-up.
Once the audience was in place the barre and the dancers were removed; and Barbara Brandt came center "stage" and welcomed us. Then she moved to the chairs set up at the back of the studio, ready to interview each of the three dancers. She asked similar questions of each of them, the theme being: What is an Artist? When did you first realize that you are an artist?
The first interviewee was Ms. Copeland. She was completely poised, seemingly easy and practiced at this art form. Her natural joy is evident, even when seriously pondering the questions. Artistry, she said, is there in every fiber of the ballet, in the 100% commitment of the dancer to the role, via technique, when it all gels and is totally believable. She said that she'd been with ABT for 13 years, but, that she had only begun to become an artist about two years ago. As she spoke, her 100% commitment to her subject matter showed her to be a bundle of joy, which was contagious to the public. When asked how she handled having to dance with a partner she did not like, she said that the important thing is to concentrate on the work and not to allow personalities to get in the way. It is hard to imagine that she would be anything but charming with everyone. After her interview she bounced off the chair and gracefully dashed off the stage.