Boston Ballet corps de ballet member Diana Albrecht spoke with The Tech about her career in ballet as well as her favorite moments of La Bayadère. A native of Paraguay, Albrecht has been dancing since she was three years old, and professionally since she was 16 years old. In La Bayadère, her roles include dancing as a bayadère (Hindu temple dancer) in the first act, in the fan waltz in the second act, and as a shade in Solor’s dream in the third act.
The Tech: How did you prepare for your roles in La Bayadère?
Diana Albrecht: The Kingdom of Shades is one of the most challenging parts for the corps of ballet. We started rehearsals back in August and slowly increased the amount of arabesques [lift of the leg behind the back] each day in order to gain strength and avoid hurting our backs since we do around 40 arabesques consecutively.
Also I did some balancing and strengthening exercises on a “bosu” (half of a rubber ball attached to a flat rigid platform) at the gym. You basically try to balance your body standing on a leg on a bosu ball for a couple minutes, so when you are standing on the ramp or the stage floor, your body recognizes it as a much more stable surface and your balance becomes a lot easier.
TT: As young students we’re often wondering if we’re on the right track, or if we should switch fields, etc. Did you ever consider giving up dance and pursuing another career?
DA: I never seriously considered giving up. There are many difficult times we go through, as any other career. But once you pass through them, you get stronger and more mature. I do feel like in the beginning of my career I didn’t think as much about the future as I do now. I always wanted to continue studying as I did ballet, I just never had the resources or time to do it. It takes time to get comfortable with speaking and writing in English and I was more focused on being part of a new environment and building the base of my career.
But now I have the opportunity to take college classes and it is so rewarding! Just to get a feel that there is so much more out there and so many opportunities after our dancing careers or even new opportunities merging arts and business, it is empowering and exciting.
So I wouldn’t switch fields if I felt I could do it. I always tell dancers who are starting their careers to follow their instincts and to not give up if they really think they can do it. But it is also important to prepare your future, and your future starts with your choices today.
TT: What’s your favorite part of La Bayadère and why?
DA: The part that always touches my heart is in the Third Act when we are all down the ramp and ready to start the adagio. I find the music to be sublime. It brings so much serenity and stillness to the moment that it is very uplifting to both dance and watch.
TT: Which is your favorite ballet?
DA: I don’t think I can pick one, the traditional classical ballets are very challenging and it is great to succeed at a role of a classical ballet and to watch a well done full length.
But I love how contemporary pieces push the body to new places making beautiful shapes and creatively exploring the unknown.