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Putting Traci Gilchrest into words isn’t easy. It doesn’t seem to be enough to say she is friendly and a great dancer.  At times she is extremely confident, but she can also be surprisingly shy. Editing her interviews will take the least amount of finessing because when she says something she is precise and succinct.

 

Traci

 

I met Traci when I first went down to Charlotte to meet with Logan McSwain (Director of Marketing and Communications at NCDT) and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux about the possibility of making this documentary.  After the meeting, Logan gave me a tour of the studios and let me sit in on a rehearsal with Alessandra. While still in the lobby Traci rushed in, pausing for a handshake and to flash her brilliant smile, before continuing on ahead of us. I was probably at the studios for about 20 more minutes, but saw Traci five or six more times. She was scurrying around, pausing only slightly to check in with someone, see if a door was locked, or check the music for a rehearsal.

 

Traci Warming Up

 

During the year that I filmed the three dancers, Traci retired as a principle dancer with the company. When Logan and I spoke about the dancers at North Carolina Dance Theatre, she described Traci as the ultimate ballerina; she has danced lead roles from Giselle to Balanchine to Juliet. I immediately wanted her to be in the documentary, but was a little worried about working with the top dancer at the company. Upon meeting her any apprehension evaporated because Traci is so sweet and humble that you forget about her accomplishments when you are with her; unless, of course, you are watching her dance and that is the moment you become awestruck.

 

Traci Waiting During Morning Class

 

Find out more about Traci at the film’s website or at her page on North Carolina Dance Theatre’s website.

Traci

 

Written by Chelsea Wayant

Chelsea Wayant

Chelsea Wayant is an independent filmmaker and educator living and working in the Southeastern American town of Greensboro, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a BFA in film production and from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a terminal MFA in film and video production.

Throughout her career she has worked in all three forms in her field: the narrative, the documentary, and the experimental film. Regardless of the form her work has always explored the portrayal of women both in front of and behind the camera. Thematically her films most often involve women as central characters and often explore the visage of a dancer.