In this case… everything.
First the stats: from Elgin, South Carolina, he started his career at 12 years old, studying with Radenko Pavlovich and Milena Leben and then getting himself a scholarship at the Kirov in Russia. From there he apprenticed with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, joined the American Ballet Studio Company, and danced with a number of other solid companies, winning medals and prizes until today where he is now in his 3rd season with the Washington Ballet.
I was interested in Brooklyn Mack for his selection by Dance Magazine as one of the top 25 to watch for 2012. YouTube was my resource, and I immediately opened the first video I found, which was the by-now hackneyed male solo in La Corsaire.
Riveted. Since when did Corsaire turn sensual? Watch Brooklyn Mack and you will see another Corsaire – one that slows down time, one that wallows in every movement, one that hovers an octave or more above the norm as he takes that extra breath into the next ecstatic moment.
Watch any of Brooklyn Mack’s roles, even on video where there is none of the bristle and spark that comes from live performance, and see the contemporary incarnation of Nijinsky… and more.
Do I gush?
Look at this young man’s epaulment, ballon, turns, and just plain connection to every present moment. The impossible inventions he creates in the air.
My question is, who is doing what to grow the young men of ballet today? They are startling, and Mack is at the head of the list.
Second question: what is Brooklyn Mack going to be in another two years, 12, 20? Impossible to imagine. All you can do is run, don’t walk, to see this young man perform.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But let our Brooklyn Mack keep his, for it is indeed part of his pure and unique artistic scent.