Magazine article Dance Magazine

Quick Q&A: Maria Kowroski

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Quick Q&A: Maria Kowroski

Article excerpt

New York City Ballet principal Maria Kowroskh to many eyes, had a breakthrough season last spring. Part of it was her stunning performance in Balanchine's Bugaku, made for Allegra Kent and Edward Villella in 1963. It's an odd and startling ballet, designed to look like a Japanese court ritual--possibly of a first sexual encounter. Kowroski, 31, will repeat her performance in the role this month in NYCB's season. Wendy Perron spoke with her about Bugaku; her foray with Morphoses, the Wheeldon Company; and her change of outlook.

You were amazing in Bugaku: contained, daring, and sensual. How did you approach the role? Because it hadn't been clone in so long, I was nervous about it. You can go a lot of different ways with it, and I didn't want to go the wrong way. Allegra Kent takes class at Steps, and I had run into her there. She loaned me a tape of her coaching it. In the video she said, "You have to be shy and almost a little scared but you're also excited. You let yourself go and then you come back." I have respect for her, the ballet, and Balanchine. I didn't want to make it gaudy or grotesque.

She told me that you were exquisite in it. That's very sweet.

What was the most difficult part technically? When you start the pas de cleux in your little bikini, you go down into a deep lunge. Because of my flexibility and hyperextension, I could go all the way down, but I couldn't get up. In one show I almost fell over. Albert Evans, my partner, helped with that. Peter Martins did too; he told me to keep my weight forward, to level it out.

You had a very good season and people say you reached another level of maturity. Do you feel that? I do. I've had a lot happen in my personal life the last few years that's forced me to grow up. Being a ballet dancer you're in front of a mirror a lot. I feel judgmental of myself, and I'm a perfectionist. …

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