From Balanchine to Broadway: Georgina Pazcoguin talks ballet, Cats & more

As a soloist for the New York City Ballet, Georgina Pazcoguin has spent years dedicated to performing on the classical stage. Then, due to an injury in the cast of the Broadway revival of On The Town, she found herself a member of the ensemble. Two weeks later, she was asked to play Ivy and ended up a principle on Broadway. Now, she’s the iconic white cat Victoria in the hit revival of Cats and I caught up with her to talk the integration of ballet and Broadway.

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Photo by Christopher Boudewyns

Your Broadway debut seems like a whirlwind experience. What did that teach you that you hadn’t learned in your years of ballet training?

That there’s an absolutely wonderful community here. This is something I hope to continue to do, to bridge the Broadway and the ballet worlds. They are two separate communities and I love this Broadway community with my whole heart. I’d never been so accepted as the stranger coming into a show at the last minute. I’d also never really spoken or acted on stage before and they were so wonderful and patient with me.

How were you able to bring your ballet discipline and training into your work for On The Town?

I would be the first one in the theater. I needed to warm my body up and learn to warm my voice up. With Cats, I’m there two and a half hours before the show. What I need for my body is ballet based and then I need to warm up my hands and my knees. I also still need ballet class. I’m one of the oldest in the cast too. I may not make it to class seven days a week anymore because of the show, but I’m still there at least three times a week.

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Photo by Christopher Boudewyns

You’re playing the cat that everyone identifies with Cats.

Which is wild to me.

Were you aware of that when you were cast?

No. I didn’t even see myself as playing Victoria. When I got the call they were interested in seeing me for Cats, I was honored first and foremost, but I wasn’t sure which cat I was right for. Victoria is a gentle soul and this is a departure for me. I usually play really strong and feisty characters.

Were you worried about being compared to previous women who’ve played her?

It’s my own approach to Victoria which makes me different than any other white cat that there’s been. I’m inevitably still going to be me, but to get to try on this personality is really nice. It’s nice to be vulnerable on stage. I had no idea how big this role is, but it’s been such a wonderful experience. I needed this break from ballet to experience how far I can stretch myself.

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Photo by Christopher Boudewyns

What else is on your plate?

This is my first year without a six week Nutcracker season so I’m excited about that. I’ll return for a little bit of the spring season for New York City Ballet and I’m embracing being a role model for girls and guys who want to thrive in this balletic world. I want them to know it is okay to not match the stereotype. I’m not the stereotype of a ballerina.

Give me an example.

My body type for one. I’m not waif thin and I’ll never be that. NYCB has many body types and I love that. We have different looks but we all dance in the Balanchine style. I am also my ethnicity. I’m not another blonde hair, blue eyed ballerina. I’m me and I want to encourage people to be themselves as dancers.

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Photo by Christopher Boudewyns

Interview by Ryan Brinson
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