N: What are you most excited about for this year’s National Choreography Month?
C: This is the first National Choreography Month that I’ve participated in so I’m excited for the experience and to see what kind of work the choreographers come up with. I’m really excited to be getting my work out there in a public setting. Since I graduated from Bard College about five years ago I’ve been dancing as a company member in Dance Prism, a small ballet company in West Concord, MA. It’s a wonderful company and community but with a degree in modern choreography I only really get to showcase any of my own work during our summer studio performance. Most of my solo work is done on pointe so I’m also interested to see what the general reaction is to my kind of work with a man dancing on pointe, being that it’s my first time putting it in front of a wider audience.
N: Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
C: My favorite choreographer is Antony Tudor. I love his understated style of ballet. It is so smooth and yet says so much. I often show clips of his Jardin aux Lilas and The Leaves are Fading to my dancers when I start a new piece, to give them a sense of the subtle arms and understated emotional cues that I love to see. I also love a lot of Twyla Tharp’s work because of her use of pointe shoes in a more modern setting. I love to see subtlety in a choreographer’s work. My “wow” moments happen most often when a choreographer hits all the right notes, in movement design, music choice, and their ability to elicit just the right response from a dancer. When a choreographer is able to make all the pieces fall together, it is just magical.
N: What changes in your process to build a piece in such a short time span (one month)? How long do you usually take to create work?
C: Honestly, I am fairly well used to creating work in less than a month. For the summer performance that I mentioned earlier I am usually working on up to four of my own pieces while learning other choreographer’s pieces as well in an equally short time. I’ve been doing this for five years now so I am no stranger to this process. I do like to have time to go back and modify the work if the piece needs it. Having more time allows for more precision but the shorter rehearsal period, as I said before, has forced me to let go of my perfectionism. It has actually allowed me to produce a piece to which I feel surprisingly connected thus far because I don’t have time to obsess over the details. I’m also working on a piece now that won’t be performed until the summer and I am setting it on two dancers from Dance Prism which means that I am experiencing two very different kinds of process at the same time. It has certainly been an interesting experience to hold back to back rehearsals, one in which I can take all the time in the world to communicate the piece to my dancers, and one in which I struggle over trying to let go of detail enough to fall in love with my own movement in a very short period. It has been a very enlightening month of choreography and art.