Before she moved thousands of miles and an ocean away from New York to join Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Casia Vengoechea studied ballet with Charla Glenn at Juilliard. Even when the school year and its stresses would get the better of her, she could count on Glenn’s positivity (“She radiates happiness,” says Vengoechea.) to remind her to enjoy herself in class.
“So often we would get stuck in this going-through-the-motions thing: ‘OK, this is my ballet class, this is what I do to get technique, that pirouette didn’t work, so I’m going to harp on that, and then I’m going to move on.’ Charla would always make sure that we could let go of the negativity and just release in order to find freedom within our technique. One of her funny catchphrases was: ‘Lift your chest to be the best in arabesque.’ Dance should be fun! We’re people, not automatons.”
NDT2 performs at the Joyce Theater in NYC through Sunday, February 8.
Photos by Yi-Chun Wu, courtesy of NDT2