After watching the stunning performance of Dores André in the San Francisco Ballet World Premiere of ‘Salome’, I just had to learn more about her and her leading role. So while she was in the middle of taking off her makeup and getting ready for the next performance, I had the chance to do an over-the-phone interview with her. When you meet her off-stage, it’s no surprise that’s she speaks and acts as elegantly as she dances. She’s easy to talk to and she has the best laugh! Did you know she loves to swim and her favorite part of Salome is when she blows out the candle of her birthday cake? Scroll down to learn more!
Dores André’s red Valentino-inspired dress has mesh over the opening of her back so that the dancers’ hands won’t get caught in it.
The “blood” on John’s beheaded …head was made out of cherry marmalade with a bit of food coloring it. Tasty!
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The confetti poppers still scare Dores every time they go off.
About the Role
How long did you rehearse for this role?
We started practicing back in the summer and then we rehearsed it again in December. A week ago when we picked it back up to get it performance ready, Mathilde Froustey, who actually was the first cast for this role, got injured and I (as the second cast) then took on the role. Looking back on it, it’s crazy how fast everything came together!
How do you rehearse privately without a pianist or orchestra?
This one was different because the composer was with us most of the time, which is very rare. He had the computer version of the piece and he would even cut things or change music so then the choreography would change. It was fascinating to work so closely with a composer. It felt like old times, like Ballets Russes where Stravinsky was there and the art constantly changed. What a privilege! We settled on the final choreography a day before the performance. (WOW!!!) And it’s still not set in stone! It might be a little bit different the next performance.
What do you like most about the Salome story?
I love the complexity in the way that Arthur Pita portrayed this biblical story; that good and bad are not always extremes. People who are good can be bad and people who are bad can be good. You may do things that are normal to you but it may not be perceived the same way by another person from a different environment. It’s all about your perspective and lack of perspective. Salome thought she was doing a good/normal thing but to John it was repulsive and she didn’t understand his reaction. Unfortunately, she chose to only see it her way and her perspective didn’t change.
What was your favorite part to perform?
I really enjoyed the blowing the cake before the first confetti. At this point, people don’t really know what’s happening yet and it felt like everyone was watching intently to see what’s happens next. You can absolutely feel it from the audience. That’s another reason why I love performing new works. I love that I had the audience captive.
How did you feel when you were in the center of the stage, the spotlight was on you and confetti was coming down from the sky? Was it surreal?
Honestly, confetti is the best thing in the world! If I was very very rich, I would have a massive house, every room would blow gold confetti at all times. It makes you feel like there is magic all around you. To me, the confetti amplified the darkness of the story because it’s almost eerie that there is confetti at such dark moments. I love the contrast!
What is your favorite type of ballet?
I like working on new works. I think that process is my strength. I love to take on a new role, coming up with new steps and collaborating with the choreographer is what I love. To me, that’s what it means to be an artist; taking a new role and making it your own. If we don’t make new things, we won’t have masterpieces of this decade to remember.
What are excited on next?
Miles’ new piece because the music is so beautiful and I love working with him. He makes dancer’s lives very easy because he’s so professional. It’s a pleasure to work with him.
10 Question Fire Round!
1. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
2. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
I started playing the piano when I was a kid and I wish I had stuck with it.
3. What is your favorite go-to-place in Hayes Valley?
Project Juice! I go there every day.
4. What music do you have on repeat right now?
I just rediscovered Bruce Springsteen and I love him so much.
5. What is your least favorite type of music?
Really bad pop music… Because it’s just so terrible.
6. What is your favorite workout routine at the gym?
I don’t do the gym that much but I love to swim. It’s therapeutic, it burns calories and it gets your heart rate up.
7. What Netflix are you watching right now?
Abstract: The Art of Design. It’s sooooo good!
8. What is your favorite hobby outside of dance?
I love crafting, sewing and painting. If we had more time, I think it would be really cool to design my own costume one day.
9. What is your favorite thing to eat before a performance?
A smoothie from Project Juice! My favorite flavor is Marina Greens.
10. What is one piece of advice that you would give to an upcoming ballet dancer?
No matter what, always mentally show up and give it 100% of your effort. Even on a bad day when you don’t feel like it or you don’t think you’re worth it – show up. Only good things will come from it!
Click here to see Dores André perform Salome!
Click here to see more of my interviews with other San Francisco local artists.