Magazine article Dance Magazine

Samantha Figgins: On Her First Season with Ailey, from Life on Tour to Tackling New Rep

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Samantha Figgins: On Her First Season with Ailey, from Life on Tour to Tackling New Rep

Article excerpt

Samantha Figgins recently made a big career leap. She left behind Complexions Contemporary Ballet--and set aside her pointe shoes--to become one of a handful of dancers at Alvin Alley American Dance Theater who did not train at its school. It reflects changes Robert Battle has made at the company, including the addition of fresh and unexpected repertoire alongside Ailey classics: This season the company will dance Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain Pas de Deux and Hofesh Shechter's Uprising, plus a world premiere by Matthew Rushing.

Why did you leave Complexions?

I've been watching Ailey since I was a little kid. This is definitely a departure for me. Before, I wanted a more balletic route. But Ailey is expanding its repertoire in a way that seemed like it could include me. And though I was enjoying Complexions, there was not a lot of touring.

How did you get into the company?

Matthew Rushing and I did a film last year called Enemy Within. He said he thought I would be really good at Ailey and helped me get in touch with Robert Battle. After sending a reel, Robert made time to watch me in class for about 10 minutes. Then I had to wait a month until the open auditions were held--I was flying that day to St. Petersburg to participate in the Dance Open Festival. The whole day I was standing by my phone, on edge. When my plane landed, I got the e-mail. By the time I reached the hotel, I had the contract.

How has the transition been?

I had to learn the whole Ailey machine, how to work in a 30-plus group of people. …

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