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June 18, 2020
What is your favorite memory in your career?

"I will never forget the first time I got to do a run-through of In the Upper Room."

By Carlos Gonzalez

Cast of <i>In the Upper Room</i> poses backstage at Northrop while on tour to Minnesota in 2019. Photo courtesy Carlos Gonzalez.
Cast of In the Upper Room poses backstage at Northrop while on tour to Minnesota in 2019. Photo courtesy Carlos Gonzalez.

Hi there! I’m Carlos Gonzalez and this is my fourth year as a dancer with American Ballet Theatre. I’m in the corps de ballet, and I’m dying to be reunited with all my friends and wonderful people I get to work with every day post-pandemic.

Choosing a favorite memory is hard since there are too many that I would love to share with everyone. But there is one memory from my career so far that sticks out the most.

In the fall of 2018, I got the chance to learn In the Upper Room by Twyla Tharp. Not only was I excited to work with the one-and-only Twyla Tharp, but I was also looking forward to absorbing as much knowledge from her as I could from the moment she stepped in the studio. I remember everybody telling me how amazing their experiences performing that piece onstage were, but I didn’t really believe how incredible it would be until I got the opportunity to dance it myself. I will never forget that first time the second cast got to do a run-through of In the Upper Room. I have never been that exhausted in my life! But also I had never felt more accomplished.

Cast of <i>In the Upper Room</i> gathers on stage before the show (2019). Photo courtesy Carlos Gonzalez.
Cast of In the Upper Room gathers on stage before the show (2019). Photo courtesy Carlos Gonzalez.

You know when you put every part of yourself into something, and then the work pays off? I remember feeling how the hard work, day after day, finally felt rewarded, and that feeling was common among all the dancers in both casts. Everybody gave an incredible effort, and we all went home really happy that day. The second cast performed the work for the first time on tour in Minneapolis in April of 2019; that one show was unforgettable. I loved that we were all completely devoted to giving 110% of ourselves to it. And the thing I love the most is how In the Upper Room requires that all of the dancers work as a team: we go through the nine different sections of the ballet together. It really taught me how to distribute my energy and how to make a challenge so fun and enjoyable.

I really hope I get to perform In the Upper Room again and pass it on to future generations who will have the wonderful experience of doing the work in the studio and seeing it come together on stage.

Carlos Gonzalez joined ABT as a member of the corps de ballet in 2017.