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David Hallberg | Photo Henry Leutwyler David Hallberg | Photo Henry Leutwyler

David Hallberg on ‘Legacy’

This Friday night, David Hallberg fans will have the unique opportunity to see the legacy of dance from his personal perspective. Presented in association with Youth America Grand Prix at the culmination of the competitive finals, ‘Legacy’ will showcase 4 US Premieres and 1 World Premiere that share the voices of Tokyo Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Australian Ballet and the America Ballet Theatre Studio Company. These works are hand picked to express the diverse expressions of the companies Hallberg has worked with in his career, as well as highlight burgeoning talent in choreography and performance. In anticipation of this event, we chatted with him on what he’s thinking from where he stands now.

Purchase tickets to David Hallberg’s ‘Legacy’ here.

Why I chose these works for ‘Legacy':
The evening is a culmination of the companies I have had the opportunities to work with on an intimate level– and their legacies. The Mariinsky Legacy. The Bolshoi Legacy. The Tokyo Legacy. The Australian Legacy. And the Legacy of ABT, seen through the talent Studio Company. The Legacy of tradition. The Legacy of history. The works I have chosen are works that are special to each company. Lacotte’s ‘Pharoh’s Daughter’ is signature to Bolshoi. A new choreographer being pushed by Mariinsky in ‘Choreographic Game 3×3′. The Resident Choreographer of Australian Ballet. The continued Legacy of Bejart through Tokyo Ballet. And feeding the future, one that I went through, in a world premiere for ABT’s Studio Company by Pontus Lidberg.
Tokyo Ballet from "Bhakti III" Photo by Kiyonori Hasegawa

Tokyo Ballet from “Bhakti III” Photo by Kiyonori Hasegawa

What young dancers are like now compared to when I was training:

I think the awe and inspiration is certainly still there. Young dancers are still just as inspired and obsessed with dance as we were when we were at that age! But what has changed is the development of technique. Younger dancers continue to push themselves further to redefine what the standard is. There are more and more tricks in dance. And it becomes less and less interesting. The amount of turns or the circus trick that one does in the air has nothing to do with dancing. Dancing is movement. When I see a dancer that has a strong technique for their base but is also creating something beyond just technique, something unique, artistic, individual and humble, that is what is interesting. That is what motivates audiences to watch someone.

From this standpoint, what I would tell my younger self:
Keep my head to the ground. Trust that it will come. Just work. Don’t distract yourself with the limelight and ego. Ego is a killer. Just work.
My mindset on the first day of working with a new company:
Calm down.
Nothing to prove.
Don’t need to impress.
Build up. Not down.
Feel the ground.
I am human after all, and get nervous in front of onlooking dancers like anyone.
My wildest wishes for the dance world:
Engagement. Its not that there are diminishing audiences. We just need to jump in with the rest of the world and think 3 steps ahead. Most of the time, we’re reliving the past and that makes us three steps behind. I have met people who know nothing about ballet but are interested. The interest is there, but its OUR responsibility to play with the others. Engage them. Challenge them. Lead them.
And that we don’t act like slaves to money. “Oh we can’t do that, there’s no money” “Oh we can’t do that because…” “Oh we can’t do that, I’ve tried already” Boring answers. There of course is a reality, but one that must constantly be redefined.
The immediate future for Ballet:
Look to Paris Opera Season 15/16. Thats the immediate future of ballet.
Innovative, Ambitious, Risky, Intelligent.
Something I experienced traveling that I wish was true in the States:
Historically, I wish dance (arts in general) were more in the fabric of America. Not seen as an extracurricular. Dance and the arts fill the gap and balance life. Art does just as much as science and finance does to lifestyle and need. And is imperative in development of children and the future of the country.
Post by Emeri Fetzer

Emeri is Managing Editor of and a full–time freelance performer. Emeri most recently danced in Punchdrunk's 'Sleep No More' NYC and in original choreography for PITH Dance. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, with BA’s in Dance Choreography and English from Goucher College, Emeri loves to marry writing with a strong passion for movement. She is also a regular contributor for Theater Development Fund's online magazine TDF Stages.

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