The Best of Both Worlds

April 13, 2016

Angelica Generosa strikes all the right balances. She’s ambitious, but ego-less. She exudes the charm of a soubrette, but also the power of a contemporary virtuoso. A fourth-year member of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s corps, she welcomes the soloist and principal roles artistic director Peter Boal throws her way, but is happy to continue her time in the corps.

Boal first noticed the School of American Ballet–trained Generosa when she was 15, dancing the lead of Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes at an SAB workshop performance with Taylor Stanley (now a New York City Ballet soloist). “She was something between fearless and charming—a force!” Boal remembers. A few years later, when Generosa was not accepted into the NYCB apprentice program, he invited her to join PNB as an apprentice.

“I really was aiming for NYCB. That has always been my dream company,” Generosa admits. But Seattle has offered her outsized opportunities (especially for a corps member), from performing the lead in Balanchine’s “Rubies”—which, she says, “completely changed my dancing”—to starring in Molissa Fenley’s 34-minute solo, State of Darkness. “PNB has become home for me,” she says.

Dancing above your rank has its obvious perks, but Generosa isn’t naïve about the difficulties it presents, either. “It’s emotionally challenging to do both corps and soloist parts. But I’m very lucky to have that chance. Not a lot of dancers get to do that.”

Bubbly and unassuming, Generosa’s success hasn’t gone to her head. It is clear that she takes class for herself, though she never stagnates or becomes complacent in her approach. Her petite physique makes her a natural jumper and turner—according to Boal, Balanchine répétiteur Elyse Borne joked she thought Generosa had ball bearings in her pointe shoes—but her adagio is perfectly measured as well.

Generosa is also thriving outside the company. She caught the eye of Damian Woetzel, who invited her to perform at last year’s Vail Inter-national Dance Festival, which he directs. “Her abilities as a dancer were striking, but more than that, she showed a sense of assurance and daring which made me want to work with her,” Woetzel says. And in a full-circle career moment, he cast her in Stars and Stripes, this time with the coaching help of Heather Watts, Carla Körbes and Woetzel.

Even when she’s dancing in the back of the corps, it’s clear that Generosa is going places—so much so that Boal jokes that “he’s thinking of putting a tracking device on her.” So, what’s next? Generosa is already halfway to performing her dream role: She understudied Kitri for Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote, which had its American premiere at PNB. She also says she would love to dance Wayne McGregor’s stark, jarring Chroma. And if anyone can go from Kitri’s feisty variations to McGregor’s twisty movement puzzles, it’s Generosa—and she’ll do it with charm and class.

The latest episode of
Dance Magazine‘s video series “Behind the Curtain” follows Generosa throughout her day.