Former Spectrum principal dancer,
rehearsal director,
and a choreographer herself,
Hannah has a compact body
and wonderful, strong arms,
expressive and sinewy.
She exudes humor
and meets the world
in an engagingly straightforward way.

At this moment in her life she is most passionate about learning and challenging herself as an artist. She is now embarked on a new adventure involving only dance. “Only dance” includes traveling, however, and she is now working in Portugal, with Daniel Cardoso’s Lisbon-based Quorum Ballet. She was ready for a change, but the job offer came like an explosion when Cardoso contacted her last June. A replacement was needed for a show the coming weekend. From earlier contacts he thought Hannah would be the one who could do it, and he needed an answer “in an hour.” A pretty wrenching decision, but she took the opportunity. It’s been an aesthetic catalyst, she says, if also emotionally and physically taxing appears. She is meeting the challenge with new energy and her usual verve.

So how does that work—dancing both in Portugal and with Whim W’Him in Seattle?
Olivier, it seems, asked her for a week’s rehearsal in June. “You learn fast,” he said, and the duet with Lucien was created then. At the new year, Hannah emailed me from New York (where she had gone to dance a few performances with the Wideman/Davis Dance Company) about rejoining Whim W’Him for the last  few weeks of rehearsal before the premiere of 3Seasons and then returning immediately to Portugal.
She said she was scared because of new work coming up right away in Lisbon, and delighted with her experience back in Seattle: “I was pretty nervous to come back again to rehearsals here. I’m very inspired by this group of people, so I felt like I had a lot to prove to myself and the company. Coming back has been so much fun, because everything else in my life has changed, so I can experience the choreography differently than before.”

I asked Hannah what it was like working with pointe shoes in 3Seasons. She replied,

“It’s been many years since I’ve had pointe shoes on consistently for performances. So, there is a particular challenge to feel like I am not compromising my ‘grounded’ or ‘modern’ understanding of movement while wearing them. On the other hand, it’s very liberating to be doing floor work with them because there are so many more possibilities.”

On working with Olivier she, like most of the other dancers, mentions his precision, and adds, “I’m so thankful for that—the clarity of what he wants—and he is still open to spontaneity and serendipity for there to be a natural evolution.” She teases him some about his exactness: “Oh, I wasn’t paying attention to my pinky. Thank you!” But she also responds to how, in the details of what he wants and doesn’t, there is so much “room for me to be me.”

Hannah points out that there is an enormous amount of respect and playfulness in this company. “I look forward to rehearsals,” she says. “That’s a huge difference from some of my other experiences. After giving so many sacrifices to dance, to go into rehearsals and simply enjoy dancing is pretty amazing.”