Riolama Lorenzo

NYC’s loss was Philadelphia’s gain when Riolama Lorenzo left New York City Ballet to join the corps of Pennsylvania Ballet in September 2002. Born in Havana, Cuba, trained at Boca Raton’s Harid Conservatory and the winner of a Princess Grace Award, Riolama was at the School of American Ballet when Jerome Robbins selected her to dance in the world premiere of his 2 & 3 Part Inventions at SAB’s 1994 Spring Workshop. A brief apprenticeship with NYCB that fall led to her joining the corps in spring 1995.

A commanding 5'8", Riolama dances with bold attack and a vivid sense of line—she seems to fill the entire stage. These qualities served her well at NYCB, where she performed principal roles in such Balanchine ballets as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Apollo, Agon and “Emeralds” from Jewels. Exposure to Balanchine’s masterpieces made her move to Pennsylvania Ballet (after being sidelined by injury) particularly smooth—PB has a robust Balanchine tradition of its own. Riolama rose to principal at PB by March 2005, and her ever-growing repertoire includes works by Paul Taylor, James Kudelka, Matthew Neenan and Christopher Wheeldon. This month, you can see Riolama in the PB premiere of Robert Weiss’ Messiah, set to the Handel masterpiece of the same name. —Harris Green 

Dear Riolama,

Your love of dance has set you on the path to share your talent with others. You not only excel at it, but it brings out your passion as well. Dancing has become your life, but because of that, you tend to take it too seriously. One of the hardest and most important lessons you will learn is to not take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself. Yes, you want to be the best you can, but remember that your talent is a gift.

The ballet world is a deceptively glamorous place. The audience sees  perfection and beauty while the dancer conceals effort and pain. Use every rehearsal as an opportunity to explore your abilities. Saying to yourself, “my technique isn’t good enough” or “my body is not the right shape” will only diminish your love of dance. Remember, you have qualities that are yours alone and that set you apart. They translate into the beauty the audience sees. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection destroy your gift. 

Sincerely,

Riolama 

 

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search