Be sure to take some time to read Josh's conversation with Sarah the Intern and pick up a copy of Dance Magazine! (It's the choreography issue and there are several articles that we enjoyed!) Then get your tickets to see Josh's choreography in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opening at the end of the month!
Originally posted on 11/23/2011.
Check it out here!
As you know, this year we kicked off our C2C Intern program. (You've been hearing from our Bloggers-In-Residence Ryan Casey and Sarah Friswell for a few months now!) Here is the first interview done by Sarah Grace, a high school senior and student of mine in the Natick High School Drama program. Sarah has a strong interest in dance and theatre so when I heard that Josh was once again doing fabulous things I asked if he could take time out of his busy schedule to chat with Sarah. After you read about her conversation (and enjoy the day of the turkey!) head on over to Natick High School to see Sarah and the rest of the wonderful cast of Remember '11 as they take the stage to pay tribute to the NHS auditorium this weekend. Enjoy! -Nicole
SG: Do you have any favorite styles of dance, to perform, or to choreograph? Are there any particular dancers or choreographers that have inspired you?
JB: I love so many styles of dance. I don’t really have a favorite. I have some that I’m more proficient in or better trained in, such as jazz or theater. Some of my inspirations: Robbins, Fosse, Astaire, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Jack Cole, Balanchine, Hermes Pan,Michael Kidd.
SG: How did you first get into the professional dance world?
JB: My first professional job was a national tour of West Side Story. I played BabyJohn and was the Dance Captain.
SG: Since West Side Story, what was your favorite project?
JB: One of my favorite projects was being in the original cast of Hairspray on Broadway. I was a swing which is a great way to learn the inner workings of the show. It wasn’t bad to be in such a hit show either.
SG: Do you have any advice for aspiring dancers?
JB: My advice for dancers is to study all styles, learn to sing, find out what you’re good at and market it.
SG: And aspiring choreographers?
JB: My advice to young choreographers is to choreograph as often as possible and get your work out there... it’s no use if nobody sees it!
Currently, Josh is serving as the choreographer for NBC’s new television series, “Smash.” This fictional series revolves around the creation of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, and is set to premier in February, 2012!
SG: How did you get involved with Smash?
JB: I became involved with Smash through Michael Mayer, the director of the pilot and episodes 2 & 3, as well as one of the creative consultants for the series. Michael and I worked together years ago in the out of town tryout of Thoroughly Modern Millie (he directed, I was ensemble/dance captain).
SG: You've done a lot of work on stage, so what are some of the challenges of choreographing for a camera instead of an audience?
JB: Smash is true to the theater world it's set in, so there aren't many obstacles in choreographing for the camera, more like bonuses. My assignment is to choreograph great numbers that stand on their own on stage, then we film them beautifully and make them multidimensional. I think the biggest challenge would be working with the schedules of all the different departments, not to mention shooting an episode at the same time that you're prepping another episode.
SG: Do you have any other projects besides Smash going on right now? Where do you see yourself in a year, in ten years?
JB: I do have other projects that I’m prepping for in the future, but Smash is taking 99% of my time right now. In 10 years, I’d like to see myself relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean islands, or maybe Hawaii!
A few years ago our then intern David Makransky wrote a short article about Edgar Degas in celebration of his birthday. We wanted to move the article over to our new blog in celebration today!
Happy Birthday to Edgas Degas
by David Makranasky
Edgar Degas was a French painter and sculptor, largely credited as a founder of the Impressionism movement of the mid-1800s. Though his work bore many of the characteristics of Impressionistic art, Degas preferred to refer to his style as Realism, and often degraded the art of other Impressionistic painters of the time. He specialized in painting contemporary life from the point of view of the laborer, and often chose unusual croppings or viewpoints for his work. Hat-makers and laundresses were common subjects, allowing him to present psychological paintings of working women who were otherwise unnoticed by those around them.
A particular focus of Degas' was dance and ballet, but he never strayed from his psychological, working-man style. The vast majority of Degas' paintings of dancers depict rehearsals and preparations for rehearsals, emphasizing their roles as professionals in a job. His juxtaposition of art and work closely paralleled his own situation as a working painter, a connection often highlighted by art historians. Yet Degas was clearly excited by the beauty of dance, even as he portrayed dancers as workers in a profession. He spent large expanses of time at the Paris Opera and Ballet, attempting to capture their classical beauty on the canvas. The ballet presented him with the opportunity to depict fluidity and suppleness of motion just as art was adjusting to the modern technologies of electricity and photography, guaranteeing that painting would continue as an appreciated art form in the modern era. The pale beauty of the ballerinas also allowed Degas to work in pastel, a style he returned to life in France. Many of his works featuring dancers, including "Danseuse Assise" and "L'etoile" can be found on display in art museums in Paris, St. Petersburg, and across America.