Cupcakes & Conversation with Seth Orza, Principal, Pacific Northwest Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
I think about what can be accomplished for the week ahead: If not in ballet, then in my life at home.
Why ballet ?
My parents were both ballet dancers so I grew up in it. I fell in love with ballet after my first summer course at the School of American Ballet. From then on I’ve been trying to be the best I can be. Ballet is an ongoing profession. You’re always trying to improve on certain steps, or if not a step, the way you look and present yourself on stage. So I’m really drawn to those challenges, and because there’s always something to work on, it’s never boring. I also have five siblings and all of them have danced. Three of them are still professional dancers. So you could say it’s in my blood.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Alina Cojocaru of The Royal Ballet. I’d love to be the Albrecht to her Giselle. She’s at such a high caliber; it would be fun to push myself to that level.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
I think it would be with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to dance.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I start with ballet class, and after that I usually have a rehearsal or two. If I don’t have any rehearsals for the rest of the day, I’ll either work out or run just to keep in the best shape I can be.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I eat a light meal and get to the theater usually an hour and a half before the half-hour call. I’ll do my make-up and then start a slow warm up.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2011?
Pacific Northwest Ballet will be performing Giselle and I’m really looking forward to performing Albrecht. This is a ballet I grew up watching, and it’s at the top of my list.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Matt Bellingham, Buddy Guy, Jerome Robins, George Lucas and Walt Disney.
What would surprise people about you ?
I’m a twin!
Who inspired you to dance ?
Baryshnikov, Jock Soto, Damien Woetzel, Peter Boal, Parish Maynard, Ethan Stiefel, Jorge Esquivel and Johan Renvall.
How would someone else describe you ?
I hope people think of me as a serious hard worker, but also as a nice person to work with.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Never give up on the goals you set for yourself, and always remember that hard work will pay off.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
My most difficult role was Reunions, a ballet I danced with New York City Ballet. It was my first time in the spotlight and I felt the pressure of carrying a ballet. This is still one of the hardest ballets I have ever done.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
In Fancy Free, a ballet I performed with New York City Ballet, I was doing my solo and was about halfway into it when my pants split right up the back. I was wearing only a dance belt, so you could probably see everything. I had to finish the ballet with the pants ripped, which was hard to do without laughing.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?
I would start with ballet boots, a dark shade of grey or black tights, and a beautiful tunic with sleeves that flow.
A phrase I use far too often is:
“I’ll do it later”—I tend to procrastinate.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
What is your favourite quote?
“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves.” E. Joseph Cossman
What’s on your iPod ?
I have all types of music on my iPod, but what I listen to the most is a band called Muse.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I’m always trying to make the woman look the best she can. When a man is partnering he’s there to complement the woman, not to outshine her.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
I learned at a young age how to BBQ and love it. I try to BBQ as often as I can, but living in Seattle makes it more of a summer thing.
Describe yourself in just three words.
Dedicated. Reliable. Ambitious.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?
I hope to be healthy and guesting in different companies- and maybe a Daddy.