M is for Melody Herrera and Marie Antoinette

All eyes will be on principal dancer Melody Herrera on Feb. 26, the opening night of Houston Ballet’s full-length rendition of Marie. Choreographed and directed by Stanton Welch, this classical ballet captures the essence of the notorious Queen Marie Antoinette. Here, Herrera spills about this must-see
ballet. —Lauren Levinson

 

DS: How are you learning about Marie Antoinette?

 

Melody Herrera: I’ve read biographies, watched movies and looked at drawings. The country depicted her as a monster for being a selfish, extravagant spender, but I’ve found she was a charming person and a caring mother. I think she was naïve, living in a bubble in Versailles.

 

DS: What’s been challenging about this process?

 

MH: The controversies that surrounded her! She’s been called the first real victim of bad press. It’s hard to know what was true.

 

DS: Do you relate to her?

 

MH: I sympathize with her. She arrived alone to a country at age 14 and felt isolated. Young dancers can connect to that because we move away to take on professional careers.

 

DS: How has it been working with Stanton Welch?

 

MH: Wonderful. I understand his direction and relate to his musicality really well.

 

DS: What’s it like having a ballet created on you?

 

MH: It’s like having tailor-made clothing. I feel free to take chances.

 

DS: What’s a fun scene?

 

MH: There’s a food fight onstage!

 

DS: Favorite costume?

 

MH: I love this flowy, off-white dress with embroidered flowers and a blue sash. I would get married in this dress!

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.

Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."

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