"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."
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.
Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy of PNB