As a 17-year-old Pacific Northwest Ballet apprentice, Laura Tisserand (now a principal with PNB) started working with Francia Russell
. The former New York City Ballet dancer was then PNB co-artistic director and soon became Tisserand's role model: She describes Russell as "the personification of class," who could always wring the most out of her dancers with just a few words.
"She has a way of garnering respect and attention from the whole room, but in a very quiet way. She's also a stickler for technique: She loves beautiful lines, and that lady can spot a sickled foot a mile away. Francia balanced that with reminding us that dance is more than just lines, that we should dance bigger."
PNB will perform its Director's Choice program at McCaw Hall in Seattle on March 14-23. pnb.org
Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy of PNB