The Creation of Gatsby – Meet Jordan and Nick

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Getting to Know You—Leah Heller and Reinhard von Rabenau

By Rebekah Levin



Dancers aren’t automatons. They have unique personalities that imbue their performances. So, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to have the dancers tell you their entire life story, so that you can really analyze where they draw their artistry.

However, as my memos and e-mail reminders (titled “Please Cross-Examine Your Life’s Ultimate Purpose, Your Sense of Self, and How It Relates to the Artist Within”) were aggressively ignored, I have managed to coerce… er, ask some of them to do a small interview. (And some were much more cooperative than others).

Today, I have Leah Heller and Reinhard von Rabenau

*applause, please*

Leah Heller plays the sophisticatedly uncaring pro golfer, Jordan Baker. Leah practically oozes… (er, sorry, bad image) sparkles (better?) charisma, and she has no trouble hypnotizing the audience with those large eyes of hers. She is also learning martial arts… So, I certainly wouldn’t advise getting on her bad side, else one would end up in a trance-like state singing “I’m a little teapot” while being in a choke-hold.

—Where are you from? How many years with Ballet Palm Beach?

Leah- I am from McGaheysville, VA. This is my third year with the company.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a ballet dancer?

Leah- Scheduling is tricky during the season. Also, staying away from chocolate.

— What got you interested in ballet in the first place?

 Leah- I did a year of baton twirling in 5th grade, and my coach recommended that I should also dance.

— If you had the opportunity to dance as a character from any book, TV show, or movie, what would you choose?

 Leah– I’d love Poe’s “Mask of Red Death” to be brought to life on stage as a ballet.
What is something people might not know about you?

 Leah- Well, most of my coworkers know this, but I’ve started taking Krav Maga this year! It’s an Israeli martial art that their military uses.

—Let’s talk a bit about your role in Gatsby. Describe your character (Jordan) in three words

Leah– Aloof, nosy, flirty

—Is there anything about Jordan that you have difficulty portraying?

Leah- An aspect of Jordan that’s very difficult to portray is her simultaneous apathy and nosiness.

—What scene are you most looking forward to?

Leah- Although I’m not in this scene, I’m very excited for the scene between Myrtle, Nick, and Tom in Myrtle’s apartment in NYC!

Thank you Leah! As Leah glides into the studio. It’s times to interview Reinhard.


Reinhard von Rabenau who plays a dual role of Nick Carraway and Fitzgerald, the author. He can be seen in the studio sporting a Marvel superheroes backpack. Not only does he have a cool name and excellent taste in receptacle design, he’s also one of those dancers annoyingly blessed by the “Great God of Pirouettes” and could probably fall asleep while doing multiple turns.

At the moment, he’s trying his upmost to control his excitement of being interviewed. Aren’t you?

Where are you from? How many years with Ballet Palm Beach?

Reinhard– Minnesota. First year.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a ballet dancer?

Reinhard– Rehearsing for weeks and only doing a few shows.

— Favorite role?

Reinhard– Puck from Midsummer’s Night Dream

–What got you interested in ballet in the first place?

Reinhard– No comment

—Why have you chosen ballet as a career?

Reinhard– No comment

— What is something people might not know about you?

Reinhard– No comment

Are there qualities about your character, Nick, you like and/ or identify with?

Reinhard– No comment

That’s actually quite profound! Nick is known for being very reserved in judgment, which makes him a reliable narrator amid the swirl of chaos that happens around him. Likewise, you admire that lack of bias and identify with a reservation to make subjective comments… on anything.

Describe your character (Nick) in three words

Reinhard– He’s named Nick.

— Yes, he is. What scene are you most looking forward to working on?

Reinhard– The finale. Finales in any show are my favorite.

Taking the hint, that marks the “finale” of Reinhard’s interview. As he speeds away to rehearsals, I must remind you to see Leah, Reinhard, and their colleagues at “Uncorked” February 25th in the studio and on the main stage at the Eissey Campus Theatre March 19th and 20th!



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[Photography by Steven Caras © All Rights Reserved]