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NYCB Dancer/Choreographers


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#1 KayDenmark

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 03:35 AM

Via the Recent Performances Board, I can see that Benjamin Millepied is beginning to choreograph his own ballets, with some success.

There seem to be a good number of NYCB Dancers now trying their hand at choreography. Robert La Fosse and Christopher Wheeldon, of course, got their start as dancer/choreographers, and now occupy themselves largely with the latter, but it seems there are also a number of active (and sometimes quite young) dancers putting together their own ballets.

The ones I know of are Millepied, Melissa Barak, Albert Evans, Damien Woetzel - are there others?

Is this just the outgrowth of the Choreographic Institute? Is it healthy for the company?

And how in the world does a working NYCB dancer ever find time to choreograph a ballet?

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 03:41 AM

Although I don't know the reason for it, the more young choreographers who are encouraged to stage and show works, the better. By the law of averages, somebody's got to have above-average talent in there!;)

Now as to how a dancer gets time to choreograph a ballet, s/he just gets another rehearsal added into the schedule, it's just that in this one, they're getting paid supervisory fees, and not as a dancer, even if they're dancing in the work.

#3 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 06:24 AM

He's recently left the company, but add Ryan Kelly to that list.

#4 Calliope

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 09:38 AM

I think being in a company and already knowing your peers strenghts/weakness' makes it easy.
The Diamond Project seems to be a starting point for many (or SAB).
Perhaps they all have aspirations to be the next Peter Martins :(

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 11:02 AM

I think giving young dancers a chance to choreograph is a terrific idea. How else will we have new choreographers?

#6 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 11:19 AM

I'd argue that composition should be part of the curriculum at ballet academies. Dance students at schools like SUNY Purchase don't graduate without knowing how to make a dance (you may or may not like it, but it's built soundly.) There's no reason that the basics of dance making as a craft can't be taught, and aptitude identified and nurtured.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 11:28 AM

Leigh's suggestion is a good one -- even if a dancer never choreographs a ballet, it would be good to learn how (a solo, a duet, a trio and a very short group dance or segment, say) if only as a way to get the dancer to see beyond his or her own part, to have a view of the whole.

I'd vote for a choreographic acadmey -- I know that, as yet, no great choreographer has graduated from an academy, and Fokine, Balanchine, Ashton, etc didn't, but that was then, this is now, as they say. There aren't scads of Petipas around to serve as models for baby Fokines. In my Choreographic Academy, I'd not only have composition classes, I'd make them stage existing masterpieces -- good for young dancers to have to dance them, good for fledgling choreographers to have to bring a work to the stage. That's a way to force them to learn composition -- how did Balanchine put Agon together? What about Les Sylphides, even Petrouchka. I think it's the analog to having young painters copy the masters. You may never paint a bowl of fruit in your life, but it's good to know how that painter got those colors and captured that lighting.

#8 Viviane

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 01:42 PM

Choreography make part of the dance-education in the RBS.
(and I'm sure in lots of other danceschools too ?)
The annual choreographic contest is always a 'big event' for the White Lodge students. Sadly I have noticed that -obvious talented- young choreographers, couldn't make it into the Upper School.
Personally I think a choreographic 'segment' -nutured in the different existing Upper Schools- is a good idea. (a small-scale initiative to keep safe the diversion !)

#9 Viviane

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 07:41 AM

Allow me to point out a marvelous piece in the October Issue of
Ballet.co Magazine : http://www.ballet.co...iel_jones_1.htm

"..We had all won "The Kenneth Macmillan Award" for choreography at White Lodge... Sir Kenneth had told us that to be a choreographer we must be aware of what was happening out there in the outside world..."

"We" were : Christopher Hampson, Christopher Wheeldon, David Fielding and Daniel Jones...

#10 KayDenmark

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 11:24 PM

Is choreography part of the SAB curriculum?

#11 Estelle

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 12:53 AM

Originally posted by Viviane
Choreography make part of the dance-education in the RBS.
(and I'm sure in lots of other danceschools too ?)

I don't think there are any choreography classes at the POB school. There are some at the Paris Conservatoire (perhaps only in the "modern" section?).


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