As Pacific Northwest Ballet nears the end of an unusual season, the company prepares to say farewell to principal dancers Jerome and Laura Tisserand who have accepted positions with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
Though returning to Europe has always been in the back of Mr. Tisserand’s mind, the opportunity to dance in Europe came unexpectedly while visiting his family in France during PNB’s extended winter break earlier this year.
“We were already there, and the opportunity just kind of presented itself,” says Ms. Tisserand. “We wanted to take class to stay in shape, and we ended up getting jobs. We thought, ‘Wow. We really have to consider this.’”
There were many factors which played into the couple’s decision to move. Aside from dancing, they considered it would be an easier transition at this point in their two daughters’ lives and are excited for their daughters to be exposed to their French heritage.
“This move comes at the perfect time for our family,” Mr. Tisserand says, “and we’re thrilled that our daughters will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in their French heritage while watching their parents grow as artists.”
Since moving from Lyon, France to Florida to join Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2006 before becoming a part of PNB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2007 and being later promoted to soloist in 2012 and principal in 2014, Mr. Tisserand has spent his entire professional dance career in the United States.
After 15 years in the U.S., Mr. Tisserand is eager to live in France again and embrace the challenges which lie ahead. “It’s exciting discovering a new company and a new way of dancing,” he says. “It will be exciting because it will be challenging to discover ourselves again and reinvent the way we dance.”
Laura Tisserand grew up in Louisiana before relocating to New York to dance at the School of American Ballet on scholarship. From there, she moved to Seattle to train at PNB School before joining the company as an apprentice in 2003. She was promoted to the corps de ballet the following year, soloist in 2010 and principal in 2014. Having lived and danced in the United States for all of her life, Ms. Tisserand is both excited and anxious to be able to adapt to a new culture.
“We’ve been at PNB for so long, and it’s been wonderful,” says Ms. Tisserand, “but it’ll be a totally different experience.”