Artist Spotlight: Company Dancers Choreograph for Spring Performances

 You’ve seen them dance, now experience original choreography by three company dancers. PBT’s Yoshiaki Nakano, William Moore and Cooper Verona will be debuting choreography created on Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School high school and graduate students beginning this weekend at Pre-Professional Showcase 2015. Here, the trio talks about their inspiration and creative process.


 


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: WILLIAM MOORE

Fun Facts

Summer Plans: “I’m going straight to Dubai where my parents live. Then I’m going to go see my brother in Stuttgart. Then I’m coming back here for the Company Experience. Then I’m taking JoAnna (Schmidt) and Cooper (Verona) to Europe for about three weeks. So it’s going to be a pretty full, fun holiday.”

Most Memorable Moment in the 14-15 Season: “I would say dancing Cavalier in The Nutcracker…It’s such a clean classical part to play and there’s a lot required of you for that role. So that was possibly one of the most challenging and…most rewarding parts I did this season.”

Favorite to Dance in the 14-15 Season:Petite Mort…I would say that every ballet has moments that aren’t needed and there’s not one moment in that ballet that doesn’t completely captivate you.”

Q&A: Pre-Professional Showcase Choreography

Title: Five
Dancers: Three male, seven female
Music: Andy Cowton 

Describe the concept or inspiration behind your piece. 
“Absolutely the music. I like music that builds and I like a sense of anticipation, which the music gives. You can feel the music rising and building and breaking down, so that’s what inspired me to choreograph the way that I did for that piece.”

What type of movement vocabulary and style are you drawing from? 

“It kind of evolves from one step to the next…just flowing from the previous movement to create a seamless effect. I just want to make movement that is quite complicated look easy and make sense…What I want the audience to get from it…I want them to feel as if they are just listening to music and watching some sort of… rhythm or a heartbeat…something that just goes with the music. I want it to be really obvious that kind of relationship (to the music).” 

Who are some of the choreographers who you particularly admire? 
“For sure Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, Marco Goecke Christopher Bruce. Jiří Kylián is contemporary but it’s got a lot of grace. Then William Forsythe is really edgy, sharp movements, explosive music.  Marco Goecke is incredibly complex hand movements and movement of your body…Then Christopher Bruce is just raw contemporary. So I think it’s the fact that they’re all different that I appreciate  all of them.”

For you, what comes first…the music or the movement concept? 
“Mine’s completely the music. I don’t think that I’ve ever had a concept in a piece that I’ve done. I want to give full value to the movement rather than the story. The concept isn’t necessarily narrative, but I want it to be just purely about movement and the relationship with music.” 

Why did you choose this particular music? What time of mood were you going for? 
“It’s by a composer who composed a piece of music for a ballet with Ballet Boyz and Sylvie Guillem…I actually watched the piece when I was I maybe 12 and it was probably the most memorable time I went to the ballet. I decided the use the music from that particular section.” 

Where do you see your voice developing as a choreographer?
“Although I do short pieces and generally choreographers nowadays are part of triple bills, I think I would actually like to do a full-length, like a new take on a Romeo and Juliette or a completely original ballet. I am actually pretty serious about choreography. That’s the ultimate goal I’d say. I think that’s every choreographers ultimate goal. I think that’s the biggest risk a director could take…commissioning a choreographer to do a full-length ballet with big sets, costumes, lots of extras is just such a risk, that’s why so few people get the opportunity.”



ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: COOPER VERONA

Fun Facts

Summer Plans: “I am going to Florida to visit JoAnna’s (Schmidt) family, to Connecticut to visit mine, and we are also doing a three-week trip to Europe!”

What was your most memorable moment of the 14-15 Season? “My most memorable moment of the season was balancing my foil before the curtain went up for Petite Mort.  There’s something about it that gets you mentally prepared for the ballet, but it’s also very nerve-wracking.”


What was your favorite character or work to dance during the 14-15 Season?
“I really liked playing the First Man in The Concert because he is so different from me.  He is a very unassuming and introverted character, and it was a fun challenge to play.


Q&A: Pre-Professional Showcase Choreography

Title: TBD
Music: “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, recomposed by Max Richter.  I am using Spring 0, 1, 2 and 3 for this piece.”
Dancers: Eight women, two men

Describe the concept or inspiration behind your piece. 
“I love Vivaldi’s music and The Four Seasons is especially beautiful and works wonderfully for dance.  Max Richter’s re-composition keeps a lot of familiar motifs and melodies from the original score while bringing fresh texture to it. I choreographed a piece to Autumn 1 and 3 for the Company Experience last summer, as well as a solo to Summer 1. My ultimate goal in creating these pieces is to put them all together and have them performed as a full Four Seasons ballet.”  

What type of movement vocabulary and style are you drawing from?
“I like for my pieces to speak for themselves.  It’s contemporary.  I use some classical steps but when I’m creating I tend to think more about the movement of energy throughout the body. It’s taking the music and putting it into physical form, so it differs from piece to piece as well.”

Are there any influences or inspiration from other chorographers or works that you’ve seen? Is there a choreographer who you have particularly influential? 
“I wouldn’t say that any piece I’ve done is specifically inspired by a famous choreographer or anything like that.  I do look up to a lot of different choreographers though. I love Mark Morris’ work because of its musicality.  I strive for that.”

Describe the process of creating a piece of choreography on your dancers. Do you like to preconceive sections before heading into the studio or do you tend to experiment and devise ideas in-person with your dancers?
“I am generally very prepared ahead of time, which I think is a more productive way to do it. I do deviate from plans, and some things I create on-the-spot in rehearsal. It really depends. For instance, the first movement of this piece is almost entirely a canon and because of the precision and sort of complexity of making that musical, I planned a lot before rehearsals. For the second movement I did the opposite. I went into rehearsal with rough ideas, and ran it in a more experimental and collaborative way with the dancers.  I find that harder sometimes, but it is really fun when you’re feeling inspired and I usually end up surprising myself!” 

For you, what comes first…the music or the movement concept?
“Usually, the music.  I am a slave to the music!  Especially for this piece, it’s my first and biggest inspiration.”   

Why did you choose this particular music? What type of mood were you going for?
“I think this piece will bring the audience through many moods, and I think that is because of the music. Each season is a complete musical story and when I listen to it, it’s like being brought on a journey.  I hope my piece reflects that.”

As a young choreographer, what are you hoping to achieve through your works? What type of choreographic voice do you see yourself developing? 
“I hope to make people think, and I hope to share a part of myself through my choreography.” 

 


 


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: YOSHIAKI NAKANO 

Fun Facts

Summer Plans:  “I have two performances in Japan. One is at my mom’s studio doing Giselle Pas de Deux and The Sleeping Beauty Pas de Deux with Amanda Cochrane. I have a guesting job in July doing Nutcracker. So I’m still dancing!”

What was your most memorable moment of the 14-15 Season? “Petite Mort.”

What was your favorite character or work to dance during the 14-15 Season? “Solor from La Bayadère.  He is a warrior and acts like a strong man, and I enjoyed it.”

Q&A: Pre-Professional Showcase Choreography

Title: Something Unforeseen
Dancers: Five male dancers, 10 female dancers

Describe the concept or inspiration behind your piece.
“I always want to be connected with the audience when I’m dancing, and I always think about what they’re seeing. If you’re in the audience, you want to see something interesting. I wanted to create something the audience would find exciting, and these two songs really inspired me with the level of energy and diversity in the music. My title name (Something Unforeseen) was inspired from the range of different movement qualities in my piece, which were inspired by all of the different energy levels the songs play through.”

What type of movement vocabulary and style are you drawing from?
“It’s a mix of contemporary and classical.”

Describe the process of creating a piece of choreography on your dancers. Do you like to preconceive sections before heading into the studio or do you tend to experiment and devise ideas in-person with your dancers?
“I have an image in my head and bring it to the studio and try some (things with the dancers).”

For you, what comes first…the music or the movement concept?
“Music. I need to hear it 100 times.”

As a young choreographer, what are you hoping to achieve through your works? What type of choreographic voice you do you see yourself developing?
“I want the audience to feel my energy, (and showcase) strong neo-classical movement.”

 


See the works in person this month! For more information about PBT School’s Pre-Professional Showcase 2015, click here

 

Sub-title
Q&A with Yoshiaki Nakano, William Moore & Cooper Verona

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