Behind the question of self-confidence was the challenge of taking control of your tall, lanky body. âIt’s not easy to be that big and do pyrotechnics,â McKenzie said. “It takes a compactness of the center for the body to be coordinated and lifted.”
Forster’s extreme joint flexibility made it even more difficult and resulted in injuries. âI’m super cowardly,â Forster said. “When I was young, every time I lifted a partner over my head, my left shoulder subluxed, not a complete dislocation, but it came and went.” It was painful and it affected his confidence in him as a partner. Fourteen years ago, he had surgery to correct the problem.
Cross-training helped him overcome his weak points. âI started six years ago, and since then,â he says, âmy career has really taken off. He started with boxing exercises and then moved on to full body training. During the pandemic, like so many others, he began following an online fitness program, with a kettlebell and pull-up bar. With the increase in strength came an increase in self-confidence.
âRight before the pandemic,â McKenzie said, âI thought he was ready to take on the big roles.â In March, he made his debut as the leader of a new Ratmansky ballet, “Of Love and Rage”, in Costa Mesa, California. It required a daring dance, a demanding partnership, and the kind of pyrotechnics that once would have given him trouble. The moment he was starting to get used to it, it all stopped.
Losing momentum when you’re a young dancer is hard enough, but for Forster, at 34, the question was less when than whether he would be able to take on the lead roles he still hoped for. to dance. âThere was definitely a time,â he said, âwhere I thought, ‘Wait, can I still do this? “”