Pointe: Tess Voelker Is Only 23, but She’s About to Premiere Her First Work for the Paris Opéra Ballet
By Laura Cappelle
12 November 2020
Not many 23-year-olds get commissioned by the Paris Opéra Ballet. For Tess Voelker, who grew up between Chicago and New Jersey before moving to Europe to start her dance career, 2020 has turned into an unexpectedly charmed year: In addition to getting a contract as a dancer with Nederlands Dans Theater, she created a pas de deux, Clouds Inside, for POB corps members Marion Gautier de Charnacé and Antonin Monié, as part of a contemporary-choreographers’ evening.
While a second national lockdown in France means the November performances have been canceled, Clouds Inside will still get an audience. On November 13, the Paris Opéra Ballet will stream a closed performance of Voelker’s work, along with creations by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Mehdi Kerkouche, on Facebook Live at 8 pm Paris time for €4,49. (Tickets are not available in the U.S.)
Pointe recently spoke with Voelker to learn more about how she landed this remarkable opportunity.
How did this collaboration with POB come about?
It all started with the social media world during quarantine. I rented a yoga studio down the street and I kept publishing lots of improv videos on Instagram. And one day, a dancer said he’d found my account thanks to Aurélie Dupont [Paris Opera Ballet’s artistic director]. I sent her a message to say it was an honor. She asked me if I ever choreographed, and I said no.
Then a few months later, I get a call from her. Due to coronavirus reasons, they were having a smaller show and she thought to use this time to reach out to more risky artists. I certainly am a risk, and I’m a cheap risk, too [laughs].
Read the full story here.
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