Marzia Memoli may be the Martha Graham Dance Company's newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Memoli started studying at age 16 at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Later, she attended the Rudra Béjart School in Lausanne, Switzerland, before heading to NYC in 2016 to join MGDC. This month, she'll perform The Rite of Spring in the Martha Graham Studio Series in NYC, and tour with the company in Florida. Read on for the dirt.
Who's your dance role model?
No doubt Sylvie Guillem
What's the most-played song on your playlist?
"Understand," by Shawn Mendes, he says: "changing isn't a bad thing, it never was, but at the end of the day, you know, you're the same person."
What's your favorite dance movie?
A really sad movie, but always my favorite: "A Time For Dancing," based on a true story.
What's something no one knows about you?
I can wiggle my ears.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Desserts. I'm in love with any type of cake.
Who can always make you laugh?
My best friends! They're so far, but no matter how far apart we can be, they are able to make me laugh all the the time.
Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?
Who hasn't? The best one was when I fainted onstage and when I woke up I thought I had danced the whole piece, but in reality not even the first 10 seconds.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
What's your best advice for dancers?
Be yourself. Dance always for you and your audience. Don't think too much; Find your dance through the purity of the movement, and have fun, always!
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Close my eyes and think of something beautiful.
What's your favorite book?
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Always a dancer. My first dream ever!
What would you be if you weren't a dancer?
A heart surgeon. That fascinates me and intrigues me so much.
If you could work with any choreographer, who would it be?
Martha Graham and Nacho Duato.
If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
Flying. I always wondered what it would feel like to have wings!
Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits?
Looking at the mirror.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can stay underwater for more than two minutes.
What are your pre-performance habits?
Fifteen minutes before any performance I just lie down. I close my eyes and I breathe six times, as slowly as possible.
What's your most-watched TV show?
"How I Met Your Mother"
What's one food you can't live without?
Like any good Italian, of course pizza!
Do you have any pets?
A beautiful big black dog. His name is Pepe.
A version of this story appeared in the January 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt with Marzia Memoli."