Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'The Subtlety of Physical Communication'; Former Local Student Brings Creative N.Y. Mix to Jacksonville Performance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'The Subtlety of Physical Communication'; Former Local Student Brings Creative N.Y. Mix to Jacksonville Performance

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton

When Davis Robertson started at Jacksonville's Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in the mid-80s, he was leaning toward studying acting.

But he'd been break dancing for several years and his mother wanted him to think about studying dance instead. "You're such a talented dancer," she told him.

What finally tipped the scales toward dance was a conversation Robertson had with Lee Beger, a longtime acting teacher at Douglas Anderson. Beger told him he was definitely talented as both an actor and a dancer, he recalled in a recent interview. But she also told him that while he'd be her first choice for Romeo if she were casting Sergei Prokofiev's ballet of "Romeo & Juliet," he'd just be one of several candidates to consider if she were casting Shakespeare's play.

Picking dance has worked out well for Robertson, who returns to Jacksonville this week with the Joffrey Ballet School Performance Company, for which he is artistic director. The company will perform tonight on the campus of the University of North Florida.

The 1990 DA grad has enjoyed a long and celebrated career as a dancer and he's also managed to land a few acting gigs, appearing in the movies "Save the Last Dance" and "The Company," in the TV show "Law and Order," and on Broadway in "Movin' Out" and "Dirty Dancing."

He has especially rich memories of his role in 2003's "The Company," a movie which featured a backstage, fictionalized look at life with the Joffrey Ballet. Robertson called director Robert Altman "a genius" who was "as warm and personable as anyone you could imagine."

What Altman taught him, Robertson said, was "the subtlety of physical communication. ... The ability to not do anything, just embody what you are."

After DA, Robertson studied at the Joffrey Ballet School and the School of American Ballet and danced for the Miami City Ballet before joining the Joffrey Ballet in 1991. Robert Joffrey, who co-founded both the ballet school, which is in New York, and the ballet company, which is now in Chicago, died in 1988. So Robertson never got to work with him. But Gerald Arpino, Joffrey's co-founder, was the artistic director during Robertson's years. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.