Peter Boal with Carla Körbes, Principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet
What dancer (living or dead) would you most want to work with?
PB: An open-minded student, preferably living, someone like Carla Körbes.
What is your greatest indulgence?
PB: Tap water.
What is your most treasured possession?
PB: I think I would be fine without any of my possessions. Thought they re not possessions, I treasure my family and the dogs.
What do you love most about NYC? What do you miss about living here?
PB: Everyone is invited and anyone can make a difference. I also miss the Frick Museum.
What qualities do you look for in a dancer?
PB: Musicality, spontaneity, honesty, intelligence and direct eye contact.
If you were going to give 2 photographers tickets to your opening, who would they be?
PB: Andy Warhol and Cecil Beaton.
What do you most value in your friends?
PB: Still waiting for friends. They did not come with the job. The few I have, I value their patience.
What are your worst fears (professionally)?
PB: Definitely the concept that Ballet is dead!
If a child told you they wanted to be a dancer, what would your advice be?
PB: Also consider getting an MBA.
What is your favorite city to tour to and why?
PB: Paris, duh, because it's Paris!
Growing up, did you ever think, "One day I'll direct a ballet company?"
What career would your family have chosen for you?
PB: My dad wanted to make sure I could pay my own rent one day. Beyond that they were thrilled with the fact that I was a dancer.
If you could talk with Balanchine now, would you ask him?
PB: Any way you can come back?
What makes for a good artistic director in a ballet company?
PB: When and if I figure that one out, I promise to share.
What were some of your favorite/most important roles at NYCB and have you taught some of them to your current company members?
PB: I love some of the little ones like the green rooster in Firebird and the standing rock in Orpheus. Of course, Apollo, Prodigal Son, Opus 19/The Dreamer, Oberon and Square Dance top the list. I've taught all but Opus.... one day.
There has been discussion that "Ballet is dead" in the NY Times. NYU opened a "Center for Ballet and the Arts" with the goal of making dance more accessible and less of an elitist art form. How are you contributing to this and finding new audiences for ballet?
PB: I think audiences and especially prospective audiences, need to find themselves in the work. That can happen when their third grade class makes a dance through PNB's outreach program. 20,000 kids get to do this in the Seattle area and a few hundred spend nine weeks creating rehearsing and performing on our stage. Their extended families attend and many find there's a seat waiting for them at a price they can afford or might even have a free ticket. There they discover an art form that is relevant to them. A door opens and they are invited to walk through. The simple message "This is for you" is really all you need to break down the barriers.
How do you decide on the repertoire for each season? Is there a balance of maintaining the traditional ballets and as well as bringing in new works?
PB: Absolutely. We keep an eye on innovation, but you can't recognize that something new is innovative unless you know what came before and let's face it, Swan Lake is still beautiful.