Started the year working with Augustus “Bam” Damian III on a very long pas de deux, Rebel, a modern-day portrayal of Spartacus and Frigia and the first of two ballets Bam created on Rudy De Dios and myself. The second one was Ilsa-Dyur (a play on our first names) to the music of the Tchaikovsky pas de deux made famous by the Balanchine version.
I had an accident and sprained an ankle while rehearsing for Ballet & Ballads with THE Basil Valdez. We had to postpone the shows. After this happened, I never went onstage without taping both my ankles first. Lesson learned.
I think the highlight of this year, aside from the classical warhorses Giselle, Le Corsaire, Romeo and Juliet and The Nutcracker (with Missy dancing the role of Little Masha to my Big Masha) was the dream concert that I had planned, produced and performed in – Today’s Stars of the Russian Ballet. A joint endeavor with the Society for Cultural Enrichment Inc. and Kantor Pos, we performed in a two-night concert with partners Jurgita Dronina (Swedish Royal Ballet and Dutch National Ballet) and David Galstyan (Ballet du CapitoleToulouse); Yana Selina (Mariinsky Ballet) and Mikhail Lobukhin (Bolshoi Ballet); Viktoriya Ananyan and Alexander Zhembrovsky (Dutch National Ballet); Marina Mishina and Dmitry Zagrebin (Bolshoi Ballet); and Yelizaveta Cheprasova and Filipp Stepin, (Mariinsky Ballet).
But all the dancing took its toll on my aging body, particularly on my ankles. Dealing with chronic tendonitis in the twilight of my career and after several consultations with my orthopedic surgeon and “miracle doctor”, Dr. Antonio Rivera, I decided to go under the knife and have my tendons released in a procedure that was meant to add several years more of active dancing to my already extended career. Think of it as a Christmas gift to myself… Because I knew deep in my heart that I still very much wanted to dance.