Meredith Webster (by RJ Muna)
Alonzo King LINES Ballet veteran Meredith Webster has a presence that goes beyond movement, filling not only the stage but the entire room with an energy that starts deep inside her core. Whether delicate and fluid or strong and aggressive, Webster’s dancing has a sense of grounded security that captivates.
Webster grew up in Manitowoc, WI, where she studied with Jean Wolfmeyer. She also trained at The Harid Conservatory and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and received a BS in environmental science from the University of Washington in 2003. While in college, she danced with Sonia Dawkins/PRISM Dance Theatre and Spectrum Dance Theater. In 2005 she joined LINES, where she continues to impress audiences today. —Nicole Bilbao
I am lucky to say that looking back I have very few regrets. But even though I’ve definitely learned and hopefully evolved, I feel far from wise. Instead, the more life I experience, the more ambiguities I see—the more I realize I don’t know. So I don’t have a list of “dos and don’ts” for you. What I can do is tell you some of the things that are important to me now—things I’m still working on in life and in the studio. A person can get infinitely better at both living life and dancing…so really we’re both just starting out!
Webster's teenage audition photo (courtesy Webster)
Pirouettes and port de bras are worthy of study, but the skill I’ve found most valuable is listening. Listen before you speak. Listen to as much information from as many sources as you possibly can. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t formulate or stand up for your own opinions, but make sure you hear others’, too. Listen to your body. Become aware of its natural tendencies—even if you choose not to follow all of them.
Keep a balanced and broad perspective. Strive to understand yourself and your immediate surroundings ever more deeply. Challenge your boundaries and test your confidence. Respect your obligations and your roots, but cultivate your capacity for empathy, too.
Give more. Increase your breadth, indulge your curiosity, hear more music, spend more time outdoors. In general, get bigger. The work we do in the studio and onstage is our way of connecting to a knowledge that is bigger than us. You actually already have access to this knowledge; if you keep listening, you will begin to hear it more and more clearly.