In this alternate Cuban universe I have to be a principal dancer. That’s right, folks, lil ol’ Kate Webb who is a normal 24 year old living in a standard apartment in mid-sized Cleveland Ohio has to lead a 3 minute bow in front of thousands of people on the same stage that ballet legends like Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Alonso herself have graced. ‘Scuse my language, buttttt WTF?
When Laura Alonso told me I would have to get my makeup done by the theater’s makeup master on the night that my cast performed, I couldn’t help but scoff. Who the heck am I to have a makeup master do my face? Who the heck am I to be called a “principal”, especially with all of these incredibly talented Cuban dancers surrounding me? Who the heck am I to even have the opportunity to come to Cuba in the first place?
The answer is hard to me to swallow, but the only answer can be: I am Kate Webb, a principal dancer performing at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso with some dang good stage makeup. Period. Still very humble, yet prepared to own the title that somehow ended up in my possession.
So, with this new mindset I took on my dress rehearsal today. Of course there were plenty of things that I wish could have gone better (particularly one balance that I am supposed to hold for over 12 seconds on pointe…I think I might have gotten a solid 2.5😒) but I was able to look out into the house today without losing my breath from fear. It fact, at times I felt my body filling up with an overwhelmingly intimate and powerful energy—that rare raw buzz that comes from becoming vulnerable in front of countless strangers and trusting that they, and your fellow performers, will stay with you. And while I learned a lot from little missteps here and there, I also did a few specific things well (and felt incredibly alive during the process). So I am giving myself credit for those successes too✔
That being said, I was I was happy that we wen’t to a Cuban buffet tonight so I could fully immerse my newly anointed principal Cuban ballerina self with lots of delicious Cuban food. Still haven’t gotten tired of the stewed black beans yet. Soooo yummy!😋