An Interview with Carrie Imler
Interpreting Odette/Odile – A Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Makes Her Swan Queen Debut
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
September, 2003 – Carrie
Imler recently took time from preparation of her starring role in PNB’s
new production of Swan Lake to talk to us about her career and her approach
to this monumental and historic ballet. A summary of our discussion follows.
I started dancing in kindergarten.
Every time we did "show and tell," I was always dancing. I was
first into gymnastics and tap and I really needed to focus. I started
at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
(CPYB) at age six. I came to PNB for summer session when I was 14; spent
the next summer at SAB; then returned to PNB for the summer when I was
16. Following that summer, I stayed for the regular school year and was
offered a contract for the next season. I've been here ever since -- nine
We had exposure to three or four
teachers in rotation. We had 15 classes per week including partnering
and variations. We had performing opportunities. There was always a summer
show and Nutcracker. There was also wonderful repertory -- doing Balanchine
at age 12 and 13. As a member of a Regional Dance America (RDA) company,
I was greatly aided by the availability of RDA scholarships for my training.
All of the Balanchine repertory:
"Divertimento No. 15," "Agon," "Serenade,"
"Midsummer Night's Dream."
This will be my first one this
season. Of course, I have wanted to do it since I was a little girl. I
am partnered with Batkhurel Bold, and we are both growing physically and
emotionally into our roles. One of my particular challenges right now
is working on making Odette different in the second and fourth acts. I
have been working mostly with Francia and some with Kent and Otto. Among
versions I have seen on tape, I like Makarova's interpretation the best,
even if the tempos are a little slow.
Yes. The directors are very open
to helping you find out what works for you and your partner.
We're not there yet. The second
act is probably the most challenging for me -- all that rolling through
the feet. I'm more of a jumper. We are also working on figuring out how
to relate to one another as partners. We have been doing lots of work
on eliminating tension in the arms and fingers.
I love Seattle. I like to work
on gardening and house projects, such as a new hot tub and deck. I like
to read mysteries. I also love camping and enjoy going to Cape Alava,
Cape Flattery, lakes, and generally touring the Northwest.
Well, right now I'm enjoying working
with Val Caniparoli who is here working on "Torque" -- he is
very easy to work with. Of classic repertoire, I like "Paquita,"
"Don Quixote," and just about any Balanchine repertoire. Among
contemporary choreographers, I like working with Val, Kevin O'Day, Paul
Gibson, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
I think it's wonderful. I love
the colors! Every thing about the hall is spectacular! It feels like we
are finally home.
My teacher, Marcia Dale Weary, is planning to come to Seattle for the first time to see me in Swan Lake. That adds just a little more pressure to live up to being one of the “Stars of CPYB!” The season will be wonderful in the new hall with lots of dancing!
Edited by Lori Ibay
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