Boston Ballet: How are rehearsals for La Bayadère going?
Misa: Rehearsals are going really well. Florence [Clerc] finished setting the whole ballet, so we are rehearsing the finishing touches now. We have already had a few run-throughs, act by act. I personally feel ready to go on stage now.
I never thought Bayadère would be one of my favorite ballets to dance, besides Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. The more I rehearse and work with Florence, the more I’m in love with this ballet.
Describe the process of working with Florence Clerc.
Florence set the whole ballet in about four weeks. It was very quick and smooth. We were coached, couple by couple, working not only on technique, but artistry. Working with her is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. She is a great stager, coach and a wonderful person to work with. She is open and let each of us be different. She provided great atmosphere in the studio. I never felt nervous dancing in front of her. It was a freeing experience.
A couple weeks ago, I was brought to tears during rehearsals. Florence said “Misa I want to see you dance freely.” So I tried and she said “I saw freedom in you. The only moment in life you can be free is when you are dancing.”
I started thinking how many times in my life I felt free, and I could only think of a few performances that I’ve done. All of a sudden, I was in tears and dancing with it. It was an emotional experience for James [Whiteside] and me. We were dancing with tears and it was sad, but beautiful. I was moved that day. It was one of the most memorable rehearsals I have ever had, and I will never forget it. Working with Florence has brought me to a deeper spiritual level of dancing and performance quality.
In your words what is the story of La Bayadère all about?
This ballet is about Nikiya’s destiny. She was chosen to be a bayadère - not by her own choosing. She was not allowed to be in love or have any freedom. She has to dance for god and be married to god all her life. She chooses love, which means death for her. It’s a powerful story. In the end, it’s all about love.
Do you have a favorite part of the ballet to dance?
I actually love every moment of this ballet so it’s hard to pick just one part. But, I would say the first entrance when I have a veil on my face and walk to the middle of the stage and just stand there is my favorite moment. The veil is removed from my face and all I do is open my eyes. In that moment I feel I am expressing everything Nikiya feels, and everything she is. My eyes should tell all the drama of the ballet in that moment.
There is no dancing involved, but sometimes simple things are the strongest things.
Is it fun for you to wear new costuming and see the costumes and sets come together?
I’m so excited to wear a new costume that fits me perfectly. I was very spoiled to have all new costumes made on me in last year’s Coppélia and this year for La Bayadère. It’s a great feeling and I can’t wait to perform with the sets and be on stage and tell this wonderful story to the audience.
See Misa in La Bayadère rehearsals
Photo by Gene Schiavone.