This month instead of a PAC Spotlight, I’m interviewing Caitlin Kowalski as part of our “Flip the Script” series. Caitlin is a level 10 studio company member in her fourth-year dancing with Louisville Ballet. As an area dance student, Caitlin took class at Allegro Dance Theatre. I asked how that prepared her for Louisville Ballet.
Caitlin: I would say from a very young age, they instilled that professional quality not even just in performing, but also in class and in how you carry yourself even in rehearsals when you’re just off to the side. That’s something that I didn’t really understand from a young age. But now that I have gotten to that more professional level, it definitely makes sense. And I’m glad that that is something that I had experience with when I was younger because now it’s easier for me to carry that into all my work.
And considering the current Safe At Work restrictions, that professional discipline has come in handy.
Caitlin: I know it’s so hard to imagine us taking ballet and putting it into this COVID bubble that we all have to go along with. But basically, we don’t touch at all. We all have taped squares on the floor for class that we stay in that are socially distant. We wear our masks always and change our masks when they get wet because they’re less effective when they’re wet than when they’re dry. We also give the studio time to air out in between classes and rehearsals. We have a check-in when we first get to the studio to make sure that we are abiding by all of the regulations in our outside life to keep everyone safe inside the studio. Temperature is taken – all the pretty typical things I would say – we just have to morph them a bit to make them ballet appropriate.
Bart: You said that there’s no touching. How do you handle lifts and things like that?
Caitlin: Some [past] choreography that [had] those aspects, we’ve had to work around and change or just say, “Well, maybe we’ll save this [dance] for when times are better.” So yeah, for right now, that just hasn’t been part of our day-to-day choreography.
Allegro Dance Theatre is currently prepping their annual November production of Cinderella, the Ballet at the PAC, so I asked what it was like to watch her sister, Maggie, play “Cinderella” – the role she played when she danced in the production.
Caitlin: It was like when she steals my clothes out of my closet. No, I’m just kidding. It was odd. It was me on stage, but it wasn’t me. It was my sister; I don’t know, it was like watching myself but different. It’s kind of hard even to explain. Of course, I was proud because we grew up dancing together, and then to get to see her [perfrom] that her senior year of high school was just so exciting.
This interview has been edited for space. The Zoom interview is below. And be sure to catch Allegro Dance Theatre’s Cinderella, the Ballet November 21& 22 at the PAC.