Q&A with Principal Dancer Lesley Rausch

What are you most looking forward to for the 50th Anniversary Season?

I am thrilled to celebrate the rich history of the company this season. Revisiting A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be a special treat. I have danced almost every role possible in the ballet over the years. The first time was as a student on tour in Istanbul, Turkey as a Hound and Epilogue Fairy. It’s been wonderful to learn and grow into different roles and watch the others around me do the same. I will never forget watching Patricia Barker as Titania and Louise Nadeau in Divertissement pas de deux from the wings every show in awe. To be able to dance those roles still feels like such an honor and gift.

I’m also really looking forward to dancing Giselle again. The production was created for PNB, so it feels special to the company. The costumes are stunning; Giselle’s second act costume floats like she is truly a ghost. The demands of the classical control in the technique along with the immense range of character required make it so rewarding.

Read Lesley’s Dancer Bio

What is one role that holds special significance for you?

One of my favorite roles is Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. It is a role that I always aspired to do growing up as a young dancer, so to have had the opportunity to dance it here at PNB several times has been so incredible. It’s not only physically demanding, but the artistry needed to contrast the two characters are also very challenging. I felt so blessed to have revisited the role last season.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Worry less, enjoy more. You wouldn’t believe how fast a 20-year career can fly by.

What significance does being part of PNB during the 50th Anniversary have to you?

I’m so honored to be a part of PNB’s 50th Anniversary Season. I came to my first summer course at PNB right after they celebrated the 25th anniversary. PNB has been a part of my life ever since, and I will be forever grateful for the richness and joy that it has brought me.

Photos by Angela Sterling & Lindsay Thomas