Currently Joshua Grant spends his day off from Pacific Northwest Ballet practicing for Seattle Dance Project's Project 7. "My husband, Chris Montoya, dances with them and I was invited to do it this year. Since they rehearse on Sunday, it works," said Grant. "But I haven't had a free weekend for three months."
Grant sandwiched those rehearsals around rehearsals and performances in PNB’s “Sleeping Beauty,” PNB’s “Director’s Choice,” and the company’s current production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In the latter, he dances both the Cavalier and Demetrius.
"And Laura Tisserand and I went to Louisiana to dance ‘Sleeping Beauty’ there (at Lafayette Ballet Theatre in March),” said Grant. “A different ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ so that was all new choreography.”
Working on so many projects keeps him energized, said Grant. But, on some days, “if I start thinking about all these different things that I am supposed to be learning, my head would explode.”
He will perform at Seattle Dance Project during the company’s break after “Dream” closes. It’s physically possible to keep up with his schedule, Grant said, because the style of PNB and the style of Seattle Dance Project are so different.
In “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Grant is dancing George Balanchine’s classical ballet choreography. At Seattle Dance Project, the movement doesn’t make the same physical demands. “Seattle Dance Project is aimed at creating movement that looks good but doesn’t require the physical feats of an 18-year-old,” he said. “At the same time, you’re working with different dancers, moving outside of your comfort zone, and I appreciate that.”
Grant began dancing at the age of two, when his mother took him along to dance classes. “My grandmother had three daughters, and she wanted them to be dancers,” he said. One aunt ended up running a ballet studio in North Carolina while Grant’s mother kept up her lessons and performing in local shows.
“So she would take me along, and there I was, waving my arms and doing port de bras as a toddler,” he recalled.
Dance stuck with the athletic Grant, who also tried out the full run of sports and other activities as a boy in school, enjoying them all but basketball. “I’m awful at it,” said the 6-foot-4 dancer, “and of course people always asked me to play.”
Grant began at PNB as a student and has known some of his fellow dancers since their teen years together. “[PNB soloist] Lindsi Dec and I met as 16-year-olds, going to the summer course together,” he said.
Grant became an apprentice at PNB in 2001, joining the corps de ballet in 2002. In 2004, he left for the National Ballet of Canada, and later toured as a principal dancer in Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
In 2011, he rejoined PNB as a member of the corps.
“Those years [of travel] got me excited about ballet again,” Grant said. “Now I want to keep dancing at PNB as long as possible.”
At Seattle Dance Project, he also sees artists who “keep creating, keep growing.” In Dance Project 7, the works include Wade Madsen’s "Want," Amy O'Neal's "Dessa Suites,” and Iyun Ashani Harrison's "Falling Into It.”
“Midsummer Night’s Dream” continues at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, today (April 19). Grant dances the Cavalier at the 2 p.m. performance and Demetrius at the 7:30 p.m. performance. There will be no Sunday performance due to Easter.
Seattle Dance Project’s Project 7 will be held at the Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, on May 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and May 4 at 5 p.m. Along with Grant, this year’s dancers include Montoya, Ezra Dickinson, Alexandra Dickson, Betsy Cooper, Michele Curtis, Iyun Harrison, Gavin Larsen, Timothy Lynch, David Alewine, Jason Ohlberg, Brenna Monroe-Cook, Ellie Sandstrom, and new company member Karena Kirk.