Meet Our Dancers: Brandon “Private” Freeman

We’re delighted to bring you another “Meet Our Dancers” interview! For today, we interviewed Brandon Freeman (or, “Private” as he’s better known around the studios).

Before we show you the interview with Private though, we have to share you the joyous news with our OBC fans and readers: Private is engaged to Oakland Ballet dancer Sharon Wehner, and the wedding will take place in Tuscany next June! We offer our hearty congraulations to the happy couple, and are delighted that the Oakland Ballet family is (truly!) expanding.

OBC dancers (and now happily engaged couple!) Private Freeman and Sharon Wehner performing together from "wordswithinwords."

Now, here’s the interview! Enjoy!

What got you into ballet? When did you start?

Age 19, I took “Understanding Dance” in college.

What have been your favorite roles in your career?

My three favorite roles,because they had unbelievable effect on my spirit, my artistry, and my career have been the lead in Brenda Way’s Investigating Grace, opposite Sonya Delwaide in her work, Depart, and opposite Joanna Berman in Brenda Way’s Part of a Longer Story.

 How do you get ready for a performance? Do you have any particular rituals?

I try to have my costume on by half an hour, so I can “live” in it. I have to have a throat lozenge. I, then, sit upstage center with my legs out in front of me (stretching my back and hamstrings) hanging my upper back and head over my legs and close my eyes; I either sing, or visualize elements of my upcoming performance while in that position.  I guess it’s a kind of meditation. Often, if there is one available, I visit a nearby fountain before entering the theater, to toss a coin or two, and dedicate my performance to someone who may not be able to be present, and/or who holds a special place in my heart.

What’re some items in your ballet bag?

A foam roller I built, my wooden roller, shoes, tape, rehearsal snacks, extra shirts!

What do you do when you’re not dancing?

I play the cello, golf, woodwork (learning violin-making), oil paint, hike in the mountains, and garden.

What’s your favorite food and restaurant?

I love steak!  My favorite restaurant in San Francisco is Puerto Alegre!

Something that people usually don’t know about me…

I served 11 years in the Army National Guard and was a Sergeant in the Military Police Corps.

What do you love about Oakland?

I love that you can be in a regional park in about 10 minutes from pretty much anywhere in Oakland!

Can you tell us a little about your experience working in the movie, The Matrix? What was it like working on a movie set? How was the experience different than working in a studio?

It was an amazing experience!  I got to do motion-capture, where you wear a suit with sensors, and your movement is transferred onto a computer and duplicated.  It was hard work, as we may have had to wait hours, and then go shoot a scene, suddenly.  We danced (or, pounded, rather) on concrete; so it was hard to stay warm, sometimes.  We got to do some crowd scenes that did not include dancing, and that was a lot of fun!  It was hysterical trying to catch our cues from a method actor, like Lawrence Fishburne, and having 100 people react at the same time in the same way!

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