Imagine dancing your very first Juliet with the Joffrey Ballet. You reach the scene in Act III where Friar Laurence gives you the sleeping potion and then, after his exit, discover that the backdrop is stuck. It refuses to rise.
There you are, marooned alone on stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, repeating your transitional walking steps while the music plays on. At last (to relieved applause), the backdrop heaves upward and you manage to improvise a quick precis of the confrontation scene with Paris and the Capulets before catching up with the music and dancing your potion solo. What a nightmare!
Unfortunately, Leslie Carothers doesn't have to imagine any of this: It happened to her Sunday afternoon. Of course, she endured it all stoically--anyone who submits her body to the "Light Rain" pas de deux season after season must be accustomed to living on the edge.
But the mishap makes unfair any critical evaluation of Carothers' crucial final scenes--it is the character we should feel sorry for at that point, not the dancer.