Magazine article Pointe

Joint Venture

Magazine article Pointe

Joint Venture

Article excerpt

Contemporary work can be uniquely satisfying for dancers who are not afraid to experiment.

From corps member to principal, today's dancer is expected to shine In contemporary choreography. For dancers who are open to the process, collaborating with a contemporary choreographer is a chance to expand their artistry and immerse themselves in the creative process.

Yet, tackling an unfamiliar vocabulary of movement can be daunting. Before your body can attempt the steps, your mind must be willing to leap into uncharted territory. To prepare for the challenge, do your homework. "Research the choreographer's work ahead of time. View a piece of their work and make your own assessment about what's important to that choreographer," says Dwight Rhoden, choreographer and cofounder of Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

In the age of Google and YouTube, it's easier than ever to familiarize yourself with a choreographer's work. Such prep work will boost your confidence-and that's crucial when making a first impression. New commissions often progress from studio to stage in two weeks' time. That means choreographers have to assess dancers quickly and tend to gravitate to the risk-takers in the room.

"I find that my favorite dancer is a 'let's try this' kind of person: smart open, committed to technique and detail," says choreographer Helen Ptckett, who trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and then went on to become a principal at William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt. "On the other hand, if you have someone who's smart and detailed but who's self-critical and stuck on perfectionism, they're the people who get incredibly frustrated [and perhaps] learn choreography slower."

Peter Pucci, who has choreographed for The Jeffrey Ballet and other companies, is drawn to dancers who aren't afraid to experiment-and laugh at themselves if their efforts fall short. "What I look for is people who take chances and attack movement and bring their personalities to the movement" he says. …

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