From dancer to choreographer part, 2
To Read Part 1 click here.
From dancer to choreographer, the leap can be made when you seize opportunities, when you overcome your hesitations and when you access your own artistry and creativity.
In the second of this 2-part interview series with Kenneth Walker, we learn that collaborations make a choreographer.
So when did I feel like I was a professional choreographer??
Turns out…pretty quickly.
I was still a student when I started gaining steam as a choreographer. I was asked by my former colleague Paula Vreulink to come make a dance on her company for a choreography competition she was holding. They had several people adjudicating the event and one of the adjudicators was my first pas de deux teacher, Dan Berney. He recused himself but everyone else deemed the dance worthy of winning winning. I was shocked and excited. Maybe I had something to say in the ballet thing, something people wanted to see..
I first started feeling like a professional choreographer when I received one of my first commissions. I had recently left Sacramento Ballet and on a return visit my friend Thomas Bell, told me he would gladly recommend me to a school he worked with which was looking for a choreographer. I met Debbie Jorritsma and begin a long relationship of creating work for Chico Community Ballet and their program Keeping Dance Alive. Around the same time I was also selected to compete in Sarasota Ballet’s choreography competition. I was one of four finalists. The other finalists were Alan Hineline who has done just about everything you can do in ballet, Stephen Mills who is an award winning director of Ballet Austin, and Colin Connor who just became only the third director in the history of the Jose Límon company. I was in way over my head as a twenty-something kid.
I’ve now been doing this choreography thing a long time and I’m still creating, still editing, still putting up new dances. Hopefully I’ll get it right eventually.
By the way, I rarely ever enter competitions anymore. They just seem narrow in scope and focus. George Balanchine never entered a competition.