By Laura McAlister
Ever since Samantha Hope Galler saw “Swan Lake” when she was 10 years old, she’s wanted to be a part of the production. Soon, the 22-year-old ballerina will have that chance.
Samantha, a native of a Boston suburb and now a Mountain Brook resident, is the understudy for the lead role of Odette/Odile in the Alabama Ballet’s spring production of “Swan Lake.”
Performances won’t start until late February, but preparation and rehearsals have already begun. During the weeks leading up to the performances of “Swan Lake,” the Alabama Ballet Company practices daily.
Residents can get a sneak peek of what to expect from the performance while also helping raise money for the company’s education and outreach programs at this year’s Pointe Ball. The black-tie event will be Jan. 28 at Saks Fifth Avenue at The Summit.
This year’s theme is “Black Swan,” and guests are asked to dress in black and white. Michael Dyer from Uncut Flowers will provide the decor.
In addition to cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a formal seated dinner by Kathy G, dancers will present a vignette performance from “Swan Lake.”
Whether it’s the dancing at the Pointe Ball or the dancing on stage, Samantha said “Swan Lake” is one performance people won’t want to miss.
“I first saw ‘Swan Lake’ when I was 10. I saw the American Ballet Theatre do it, and oh, my gosh,” she said. “I’m just so excited to be getting to learn the lead and getting to be in those rehearsals. Just the opportunity to learn it is really, really, really great.”
As the understudy, Samantha will step into the lead role in case of emergencies.
Samantha joined the Alabama Ballet in 2009 as an apprentice and a year later was hired as a professional with the company.
“Entering a company is kind of like when you really become an adult as a dancer,” she said. “It means you’re ready to stand alone. I really love company life. This is what I’ve waited for going on 17 years.”
Samantha started dancing when she was five years old. She was taking a little bit of everything at first. At age nine, her focus narrowed to ballet.
Until she was 18, she trained as a pre-professional at the Boston Ballet School. She was a trainee in Cincinnati before joining the Alabama Ballet Company.
To Samantha, the best part about being a professional ballerina is being on stage.
“When I’m on stage, everything completely wrong in the world disappears,” she said. “When I come off that stage, I start thinking about things I could have done better or that I did do better in rehearsal. That’s the worst part.”
Save the Dates:
When: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28
Where: Saks Fifth Avenue at The Summit
Tickets: $500 a couple; $350 for individuals
Information: Call Dale Gann at 322-4300 ex. 31
When: Feb. 24-26
Where: Wright Center, Samford University
Tickets: Call 975-2787 or visit www.alabamaballet.org