Senior Artist Marc Cassidy recently retired from the stage after 16 years with The Australian Ballet. He remembers some of his favourite moments on stage.
Jerome Robbins’ A Suite of Dances
In February of 2008 three dancers made the journey to New York to rehearse Jerome Robbins’ A Suite of Dances. Right from the initial learning stages, I had a personal connection with this piece. The steps seemed to make perfect sense to me as they flowed beautifully from one movement to the next – all very naturally. On stage it was just me, a cellist and an audience of 2500 people.
‘Bronze Idol’ from La Bayadere was one of the most interesting pieces I’ve done. The dancing itself was challenging, but we were covered from head to toe in gold paint. A patch was left in the middle of our backs and was covered up at the very last minute to avoid suffocation … that’s right, suffocation! We were not allowed to touch the floor with anything other than our shoes to stop the slippery mixture from spoiling the Tarkett flooring. Interesting, kind of scary, but a blast to do.
Esmeralda Pas de Deux
I have had some difficult partners over the years, and that’s not to say that I haven’t been a little difficult myself from time to time! But my favourite girl to dance with just happens to be my fiancé Leanne Stojmenov. We can be completely honest with each other and, as a result, can work through any issues we may have. This photo is of us dancing the Esmeralda Pas de Deux. It’s always a pleasure to work with this beautiful, dedicated girl. I will miss us on stage – lucky I can take her home.
Romeo and Juliet
Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet is a wonderful role. I sometimes wish I could revisit this one with the maturity I have gained over the last few years. In this photo, I believe I was about 25 years old and was really going through the motions, so to speak. It was all about doing the role, not ‘being’ the role – my gauge for a good show was about how many turns I could do, and not so much about how ‘Mercutio’ I could become. Looking at this photo reminds me of how far I’ve come.
What can I say about Petrouchka? It’s pretty hard to fill the shoes of some the world’s greatest dancers. A wise man told during the rehearsals for this ballet that what was incredible about the ‘stars’ who have danced this role is the transformation from ‘star’ to pathetic rag doll. He went to say that the best dancers were the ones that could remove their ego from the role and be Petrouchka. Easily said. I wanted to tackle it from the point of view of a doll that had human qualities, not a human with doll-like qualities. Hopefully I gave it the honesty and integrity that it deserves.
01 Marc Cassidy in Jerome Robbins A Suite of Dances. Photography Jim McFarlane
02 Marc Cassidy in La Bayadere. Photography Branco Gaica
03 Leanne Stojmenov and Marc Cassidy in Esmeralda pas de Duex. Photography Jim McFarlane
04 Marc Cassidy in Romeo & Juliet. Photography Jeff Busby
05 Marc Cassidy in Petrouchka. Photography Alex Makeyev