If you’ve attended Boston Ballet since 2004, there’s a good chance you have witnessed the breathtaking moves and sophisticated interpretations of principal dancer Lia Cirio. She is a joy and inspiration to see on the stage, and this month, we had a chance to see Lia parlay the talent and skills she’s learned from dancing into a new art form- choreography. On March 3rd, Boston Ballet premiered ChoreograpHER, the all-female choreographed show that opened the spring program and the return to live performances. Lia’s work, Chaptered Fragments, was one of the show’s five performances and marked her first piece for Boston Ballet’s main stage. We were lucky enough to get the attention of this multi-talented female artist to inquire about her love of dance and the role of women in the hierarchy of ballet.
- At what age did you first realize dancing was your passion, and how has that passion changed since now?
LC: I believe I was about 14 when I realized I could not live my life without dance and ballet. I think that passion has wavered at certain times in my life, but something about this art form keeps bringing me back, wanting and striving for more. My passion for dance is continually expanding, especially with discovering a love of choreography.
2. You just created your first main stage work for Boston Ballet in ChoreograpHER , a program that features works all by women. What was your expectation going into the project, and how do you feel now?
LC: Going into ChoreograpHER, I simply expected to create new work and see it on the main stage. I knew there would be stress involved, but what I have found is that I have learned so much throughout this journey. I have discovered new things about my dancing, about leading a room, and about my colleagues. I have seen my dancers take my vision and embody it in ways I had never imagined. Because I am also dancing in the program, I also learned so much from my fellow choreographers: what their process is like, how they rehearse, how they interact with the dancers, etc. ChoreograpHER has not only been an opportunity to show my choreography, but it has also played a huge part in my development as an artist. I will be forever grateful.
3. ChoreoprapHER is about showcasing and supporting female artists. What other ways can we help to support this movement?
LC: Initiatives such as these should continue. They should not stop now and be a “check-the-box” kind of thing. I would love to see these programs developed for the next generation. I believe ballet companies have a responsibility to encourage all young choreographers, women, and men, in creation. Boston Ballet has been at the forefront of this, and I am grateful.
We can promote student choreography, offer space for young and up-and-coming choreographers, and offer summer workshops. These are just some of the many ways we can push these initiatives forward.
Lia is on the far right. Photo Credit: Boston Ballet in Tiler Peck’s Point of Departure; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet
4. The Boston Ballet has returned to live performances, making us all very happy. What did you learn about yourself, the audience, and your fellow dancers during the pandemic?
LC: Returning to live performance has been such a gift. I know that my fellow dancers and I really missed feeling the exhilaration of being in the theater and performing. I believe the pandemic taught us not to take any moment on stage for granted and to cherish it all. Coming back from the pandemic and lockdown has also taught me to appreciate my colleagues more. I watch them in class, rehearsals, and shows, and I am in awe of them. I want them to succeed and enjoy seeing them do so.
5. When you’re ready for a delicious meal, where is your go-to restaurant, and what is your favorite dish?
LC: Myers + Chang! That restaurant has been my all-time favorite since it opened. Definitely get the Nasi Goreng and the Lemony Shrimp Dumplings!
A HUGE thanks to Lia for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her thoughts with us. Congratulations, Lia, on a magnificent creation, we are looking forward to watching your future work.
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