When Hannah Marshall joined American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet in 2014, she showcased her textbook technique in a vividly individual way. Her essence as a dancer is soulful legato, very different from the speedy soubrette of her mother, former ABT principal Cheryl Yeager. Still, in small featured roles at ABT, Marshall knows instinctively how to flesh out a haughty courtier or a flirtatious peasant. Now, she revels in the classical repertoire she’s always dreamed of performing.
Taught by her mother, Marshall is now making her own mark at ABT. Photo courtesy Marshall.
Company: American Ballet Theatre
Hometown: Rockland County, New York
Training: Ballet Academy East, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School
Breakout moment: With the ABT Studio Company, Marshall danced the “Dying Swan” segment of Alexei Ratmansky’s Carnival of the Animals, coached by his wife, Tatiana, and following Anna Pavlova’s legendary version.
Getting dramatic: Marshall capitalizes on any cameo acting roles. When she performed the peasant girl in Swan Lake, “who flirts with the prince and gets thrown around a little bit,” she says, “I ran with it. I tried to act my butt off. I got some notice in that. Sometimes I take it a little too far. But I feel like that’s better than being timid onstage.”
Why ABT: Marshall grew up surrounded by stories of the company. “I had posters all over my house,” she says. “I just fell in love with the rep, and I really wanted to dance a lot of classical ballets at the Met with this incredible company. The girls that I get to stand in line with in the corps are so talented.”
Her distinctive asset: “I’ll never be satisfied. I always want to take the correction,” she says. “Every opportunity I get, I’ll probably go crazy and work on it at home. Some people get comfortable. I’m hungry.”
What she’s working on: Marshall has a list. “I feel like I’m always standing back on my weight,” she says. “I do Pilates to help that. And my feet—I’m never happy with them, and I sometimes have battles with my shoes.”
On her unique quality at ABT: “What makes her stand out onstage is her ability to get inside a role’s character and make it come alive with nuances that are very personal and particular to her personality,” says ballet master Nancy Raffa. “She’s also very musical.”
Her dream role: Even more than Odette or Giselle, it’s Juliet. “I watch every balcony pas with every cast,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who’s doing it, I just want to see it and hear the music. Everyone has a different interpretation of Juliet—and that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to it.”
Mention "flamenco" to anyone in the Cuban dance scene, and they are likely to bring up Irene Rodríguez. Artistic director of Compañía Irene Rodríguez, Cuba's premiere flamenco company, Rodríguez has shared the stage with such renowned flamenco artists as Eva Yerbabuena, María Juncal and Antonio Gades. She is also a faculty member at Havana's Fernando Alonso National Ballet School, and has served as a choreography consultant at Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
Irina Kolpakova in the studio with Katherine Williams. Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.
Being coached by a treasure like former Kirov prima Irina Kolpakova is an experience most dancers only dream of. But company members at American Ballet Theatre have been the lucky beneficiaries of her wisdom since 1990. Thanks to Instagram, where pros like Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside share snippets of their sessions with Kolpakova, any ballet lover can be a fly on the wall during rehearsals with the famed ballet mistress.