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Ballet
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Q&A with Ben Rudisin
April 6, 2021

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Ben Rudisin. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

What did you do during the initial period of self-isolation?

I appreciated the time to read books, do puzzles and make and watch videos, but I also missed the studio, our routine and seeing colleagues. I remained active by doing Pilates, class and workouts, but it was still a big adjustment. Usually we have an intense schedule, starting with daily class and up to 6 hours of rehearsal a day. It’s not the same to do barre work holding on to the kitchen counter. In a way, it was nice to give my body a rest, because dancers are often reluctant to take a long break, but once back in the studio, I realized how my hips and back had tightened up.

What was it like to return to work?  

Returning to the studio felt like going back to what we know, even in a reduced way with restrictions. It was nice to have the small things back: to see colleagues again and to feel there’s some sense of normalcy, even though it was a new normal. I realized how much my body changed during the time off so I needed time to get myself back into a balletic way of moving.

What was the "new normal" like for you? 

In August, I returned to small classes in the early afternoon, with only four dancers in a pod. We had a limited number of rehearsal hours, only three hours two days per week. Harrison James and I shared a pod with Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté, because the four of us were creating Soul, the new work by Jera Wolfe. We finished a bit earlier in the day than usual, so I had more energy to take the dog for a long walk and make a nice dinner.

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Ben Rudisin and Harrison James in rehearsal for Soul. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

Tell us about working with Jera Wolfe.

I first saw Jera’s work for Canada’s National Ballet School and I immediately wanted to do something with him. He has a unique way of moving – it’s very grounded, but there’s a lot of freedom in the movement. There’s an energy that flows through the body and releases at the end, like a swinging movement. Jera likes to show each aspect and the work of the movement. He has a clear vision but at first it was a struggle to feel myself in my body, to know what he was asking for but not being able to deliver.

What was it like to dance with your partner? 

It’s a new sensation for Harrison and me to partner each other. It requires a level of letting go to be successful. It was a steep learning curve for us. We each gained insight into how we can improve our partnering, and especially how to communicate better. It’s a nice challenge.

Harrison and I are often in the studio together but usually we don’t work directly together. It’s nice to have a romantic duet together and Jera wants it to be a reflection of our relationship, our closeness and intimacy. It’s rare to see a male duet, especially in classical ballets, so the opportunity makes me proud that my relationship can be included and represented in our art form.

What would you like to share with our ballet community right now?  

To donors and subscribers, thank you so much for all your support, even in these times when you’re not seeing us like you’re used to. Your generosity means a lot to us. We’re very appreciative of the security you’ve given us, the knowledge that we have a great company that is slowly coming back together.

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Ben Rudisin. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

 

Learn More About Ben >

Ben Rudisin is sponsored through Dancers First by an anonymous donor.

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