Your new show, Restless Creature, pairs you with four contemporary choreographers: Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo. How did it come about?
My whole career I’ve worked with a lot of different great choreographers. I realized early on that that is one of my strengths as a dancer. Now, in my mid-40s, those kinds of opportunities come around less often. I wanted to make that available for myself, so I hunted down a really stellar group of young male choreographers.
What were some of the things you felt you had to learn or unlearn?
I had to unlearn the idea of being upright, which is essential to ballet. I had to learn how to drop my weight into the ground, to open up my spine a little bit more. I wanted them to take me into their world and not cater to me. A lot of times choreographers are like, “Well, how does that feel? Where do you think we should go next?” [These choreographers] weren’t wishy-washy at all, which I loved.
Are you interested in doing more nonballet collaborations?
Yes. I have a friend, Shantala Shivalingappa, a renowned Kuchipudi [Indian] dancer, and we’ve spoken over the years about doing something together. It’s like trying on clothes. I see somebody’s way of dancing as an outfit I want to wear.
UPDATE: Restless Creature has been postponed.