João Menegussi's all-male pas de deux piece “Touché”

Our ex-scholarship taker João Menegussi made history together with Calvin Royal III in the American Ballet Theatre first all-male pas de deux piece “Touché” choreographed by Christopher Rudd. The piece made its debut opening the ABT’s virtual season on the 23rd of November 2020 together with three other world premieres. “Touché” is a balletic love story starring two men and is also a monumental step forward in the art form. “This being a gay work, I wanted to make sure that everyone in the cast was also gay. That was first and foremost,” says Rudd. To cast Touché with gay dancers, Rudd turned to Instagram, combing through profiles of dancers for evidence of their romantic lives. His social media stalkings lead him to Menegussi and Royal. Both are members of the corps. Rudd states also: “I wanted to make sure that I was offering an opportunity for a gay person to finally play a role that resembled the life that they lead.” The Brazilian-born Menegussi had “the perfect amount of youth as well as ambition,” says Rudd. As for Royal, the decision practically made itself.

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