‘The Snow Queen’ Elise May Watson-Lord, and her husky Watson!
Dance Informa speaks with Victorian State Ballet's Elise May Watson-Lord about 'The Snow Queen' and her beloved husky, Watson.

This coming April 14-16, the Victorian State Ballet, in association with The Concourse, Chatswood will be presenting The Snow Queen. 

This classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is a favourite, adored by many generations. In this production, you can expect exceptional artistry, magical scenes and costumes, accompanied by dreamy music and what has been described to be ‘icy magic lighting.’

Starring as the The Snow Queen will be Elise May Watson-Lord, and joining her on stage will be the most special guest, her Siberian husky named Watson. Here at Dance Informa, we were thrilled to catch up with Watson-Lord for a Q&A to learn about his involvement in the show and their adorable relationship.

Elise, tell us about Watson, and how long have you had him for? 

“Watson is a Siberian husky, and he is such a big part of my life. I’ve had Watson for over three years, since he was eight weeks old. We are super close! He is my baby – definitely a bit of a mummy’s boy!”

What is the process for rehearsals with Watson? 

“Watson doesn’t usually get rehearsed; he tends to just rock up on the day and do his part, like a real pro! Since being a puppy, he’s learned the rules and all the basic tricks instantaneously, such an intelligent dog.”

How did he start appearing on stage? 

“When I started back at work, he would join me, and he was an angel. He quickly learnt to just sit and wait while I was either teaching or participating in online classes. He can be so amazingly patient. But it wasn’t long until Covid hit, and of course in Melbourne, we were then all stuck at home for so, so long and I’m incredibly grateful to have had him by my side during those years.”

Did lockdown impact him and you as a pet owner?

“Going in and out of lockdown was concerning for all pet owners. However, Watson always adjusted so well. He knows I’ll be there for him, and he’s always there for me. I’m also a Gyrotonic instructor and now have a home studio, where Watson supervises those sessions, too.”

Describe his affect on people.

“I love taking Watson with me everywhere I can — to local shops and restaurants, parks (the studio on occasion, too). Even just having him in the car with me on our way somewhere, I see pedestrians and other drivers smile…and that makes me smile! He just brings so much joy and happiness everywhere he goes; it’s so beautiful.”

How many cues does Watson have in the performance?

“He has two entrances, appearing once in each act. It’s so special having him star in Victorian State Ballet’s Snow Queen with me. He’s extremely well behaved back stage, and I absolutely love having him at the theatre – I think everyone does! The company dancers are great with him, the stage techs and staff fall in love with him, too, and of course he’s always a hit with the audience!”

Does Watson have any speciality ballet moves?

“Not really.We could definitely put together a few moves into a bit of routine, though, if we tried.. he’s very clever! We actually just performed our first show back for the year together in Bendigo! Watson has been in all three shows of Snow Queen so far – he definitely loves coming to work with me and being involved.”

If you are looking for exciting performances to attend with the family, be sure to catch this heart-warming story, The Snow Queen (and her husky Watson)at Concourse Theatre, Chatswood, a tale of the young Gerda and her struggle against an evil and icy foe. The production features original choreography by Michelle Sierra, costumes designed by Jan Tredrea, Mandy West and Jill Kerr, and set and light design by Martin Sierra. 

The Snow Queen is sure to be an entertaining performance, featuring Elise May Watson-Lord or Sera Schuller as The Snow Queen, Gerda will be performed by Elise Jacques or Alanna Puddy, Kai will be performed by Cieren Edinger or Benjamin Harris, and Snow King and Troll will be played by Tynan Wood. 

Victoria State Ballet will present The Snow Queen at Concourse Theatre, Chatswood from 14 – 16 April. For tickets, head to theconcourse.com.au/event/the-snow-queen.

By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.

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