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This Boston Ballet Principal Prepares for Stage Roles Like an NFL Football Player

Photo by Rosalie O'Connor (courtesy of Bo

When Boston Ballet's Lasha Khozashvili prepares for a role, his strategy feels more reminiscent of an NFL athlete than a principal dancer. He reviews his past performances like a football player studying game tapes. He recalls the technical choices he made and chooses what to keep or change in his upcoming performance. Unlike a football player, though, he leaves one element of his performance untouched before the curtain goes up: the storytelling. "I try to not spend too much time worrying about how I'll act out the character," says Khozashvili. "I prefer to step onstage and follow the story as it happens. I focus my attention on falling in love with my partner throughout the show."

You can see Khozashvili fall in love with his partner, Seo Hye Han, onstage this month in Boston Ballet's production of Romeo & Juliet, March 15–April 8 at the Boston Opera House.

On corrections: "It doesn't matter if it's a coach or a dancer who comes to me and gives me a professional correction—I trust them. If someone sees me struggling with something, and they show me how I can make it better, that's how I'll continue to improve. Even if I disagree with their correction, I'll think about what they've said, and try it out anyway."

On the rigors of a professional ballet career:"I didn't always know if this was what I wanted to do for my profession. The learning process at school got so intense, I had to ask myself, 'Do I really want to go through all this?' You have to go through hell to become one of the highest-ranking dancers in one of the best companies in the world. You have to sacrifice and dedicate yourself completely."

His next step: "I hope to one day be a master coach in a ballet company, as well as spend some time working with young students. I want to teach young dancers how to take corrections in the way that I was taught to take corrections. I want them to pay attention and really work to fix their mistakes."

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