I tend to wander when I talk on the phone. Even after hours of dancing, my feet get restless as soon as I start talking to someone who’s miles away. One day while Texture was rehearsing at Point Park University, I called my mom during my break to tell her how rehearsals were going. Sure enough, I started wandering and ended up in the beautiful lobby of Point Park’s theater. Even though I danced with Texture last summer and spent several weeks rehearsing at Point Park, I somehow didn’t make it to this part of the building. But I had been in the lobby before and, while wandering on the phone, a very specific memory, vivid yet surreal, came back to me.
In 2009-10 I was in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s High School Full Time program, which is where I first met Alan Obuzor. He was teaching at PBT and choreographed Amazonia, the piece that my level performed in the Spring Showcase. Amazonia remains to this day my favorite ballet (you’re going to revive it at Texture, right Alan?!) so I was well aware of Alan’s talent as a choreographer. Only a few weeks before our show, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre organized a performance at Point Park Theater to benefit the Dancer’s Trust, a fund for professional dancers who are transitioning into second careers. Alan had choreographed a piece for some of the PBT company members and performed a solo that he had choreographed along with a pas de deux that he and PBT principal Erin Halloran had collaborated on. Several of the Full Time students came to the show and we met Alan in the lobby afterward to congratulate him. After the well-deserved congrats were given, the conversation proceeded as follows:
“Hey Alan, you should start your own company.” This was said only half jokingly. Alan smiled and nodded; he had had the idea long before we came along. “And you should hire us!” More smiles and nods in response to our not-so-sarcastic suggestions. I knew he would start a company, I just hoped it would be before I retired. Dancing careers are short and at 18, I probably only had about ten more years ahead of me. What were the odds that Alan would tackle the huge undertaking of starting a ballet company from scratch in time for me to be a part of it?
Yet here I am, a mere three years later, back in that same Point Park lobby while other Texture dancers rehearse upstairs. I feel pretty lucky to dance for a company that I’ve wanted to be a part of since before it existed. Not that I’ve ever taken Texture for granted, but going back to that particular part of the building was a pleasant blast from the past. Maybe I wasn’t wandering after all…