This week meet Shannon Lowery, dance professional who currently performs in musicals and spent many years perfecting her craft in ballet. She also has a winning smile and loves a challenge.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
Balanchine’s Serenade, it’s not a full production, only about a 20-30 minute non story ballet. Balanchine choreographed it based on real-time events in rehearsal, and there are still loose characters in each of the lead dancers. It was the first ballet Balanchine created in the US. The music is also incredible, and it’s a visually stunning ballet. It’s like if ballet had an IMAX setting, while somehow remaining very minimalist compared to a large, full production.
What’s one of your happiest moments in ballet?
One of my personal happiest moments in ballet was when I performed as the Enchanted Garden Fairy in the Sleeping Beauty Prologue when I was 12. It was my first time performing with a partner onstage and the first time I had a solo variation. It was a huge milestone and the moment when I realized that I might want to pursue dance as a career.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
I saw a prestigious ballet company perform in spring 2012. A girl somehow got dropped going off stage right in the front row. It was like a Tuesday night, though, so maybe she was an understudy or the C list cast, or maybe it was just an honest mistake. Her face looked pretty shocked, though. I also recently saw a world class acrobatics and dance show downtown. They had a pretty rough run, especially during a particular tumbling sequence. At one point one of the guys holding this hexagon-shaped ring dropped it offstage into the front row of the audience. I found it comical, as a performer, but I’m sure they got in some trouble with the directors. In both of these instances, it was humbling to see some of the world’s best performers still be human and have errors onstage. In no way did either of those mishaps affect the overall quality or enjoyment of the performances. My own personal biggest fail was probably when I was 12. It was my first time performing in Waltz of the Flowers in The Nutcracker, and my pointe shoe somehow came off my foot. I was horrified and didn’t know what to do, so I did the entire 10:30 minute dance with the shoe attached via the ribbons but flopping around. Luckily it was a school show, so looking back it could’ve been worse. It was my first major mishap onstage, and clearly a formative one. As you get older you realize there are certain mistakes that are bound to happen, so you learn to let them go a bit easier.
Why do you love ballet?
Ballet is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the only thing that I’ve felt like I could pursue for a lifetime and never fully master. That challenge kept my interest and will always keep my love, though at times it’s an exhausting reality to face. I also love that ballet is the perfect balance between strong athleticism and graceful beauty. I feel equally feminine and powerful when I’m dancing.
Theatre/dance is for...
or your story or an emotion onstage. For me, it’s conveying a feeling or an idea that the audience can relate to and expressing that without speaking (in dance).
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