This week on TheatrePeople, I'm thrilled to introduce you to ballerina and choreographer Avery McGee. Avery danced and taught at the Savannah Ballet for five seasons and is now pursuing her next chapter in NYC.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
Serenade is one of those ballets that I can watch over and over again and appreciate something new each time. It’s Balanchine’s first ballet in America but continues to be exciting and relevant today. The marriage between the movement and music is my absolute favorite thing about it.
What’s one of your happiest moments in ballet?
I was dancing a particularly difficult sequence that I was working extra hard on in rehearsals. I was never fully confident that I would be able to get every step during the show. It was just really hard! Well, for one evening show, I completely nailed it! I got all the turns, held all the tricky balances and everything! It felt amazing. But the best part wasn’t hitting every step, it was the look I got from my friends on the stage with me. Their eyes beamed with contained excitement! It made it that much more special to share the moment with my pals on stage. That was one of my happiest moments in ballet.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
We had just started the second act of Nutcracker. All of the divertissements were watching the Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara dance. Next thing you know one of the baby rats (in her regular street clothes) walked out of the wing and sat criss cross applesauce on the stage to watch the show! We all weren’t really sure what to do! Clearly everyone could see her because the house started to fill with laughter. Finally one of the crew members came onstage, picked her up and took her off. It was a very big goof but ended up being pretty cute.
Why do you love ballet?
The dynamic of ballet being so difficult but so effortless has been a huge reason why I’ve kept up with ballet for so long. Ballet is a chase. There is no mastering it. There will always be something to work towards and something to improve on. I love that about ballet. I love that it’s so deceptively difficult!
Theatre is for...
In ballet and theatre your job is to play pretend! You get to step out of your own life and be someone else for a little while. You’re encouraged to play and are given exciting tools to do it. What’s more fun than that?!
More about Avery...
Avery McGee graduated from Point Park University in 2014 where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. Upon graduating from Point Park, she moved to Savannah to join The Savannah Ballet Theatre. She spent five seasons at Savannah Ballet, four of which she performed as principal dancer. Some of her favorite roles include Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid. During her time in Savannah, she also taught dance at Savannah Academy of the Arts, Savannah State University, Georgia Southern University (Savannah location), and Savannah Ballet School of Dance. In 2016 she was recognized by the Artsbridge Foundation for her choreography in Savannah Arts Academy's The Drowsy Chaperone. Avery moved out of Savannah and closer to home in spring of 2019 and is currently dancing in New York!
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