A National Public Radio interview with Francia Russell. Audio & text.
Balanchine wanted Russell to perform, but instead Russell focused on learning every one of his ballets so she could help teach them to company members. This was in the days before videotape, so Russell documented every dance by hand in a spiral-bound notebook. "Some ballets, I had to go around and pester dancers," she remembers. "They would see me coming and run because I was always asking questions — 'Show me what you did right here!' "