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Inside New American Talent/Dance

I am fascinated by creative process, and have always found it just as engaging as the actual product. With the 2006 inception of our biennial choreographic competition, New American Talent/Dance, I now have ample opportunity to observe a diverse range of choreographers and their artistic methods as they make new dance work for Ballet Austin. Culled from a group of more than 50 choreographic applicants, our 2010 “class” is comprised of KT Nelson, co-artistic director of modern dance company, ODC, in California; Dominic Walsh, former principal dancer with Houston Ballet and current artistic director of Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre; and Nelly van Bommel, founding director of her own New York-based company, NOA DANCE. 

Each of these choreographers will begin with the same “blank slate”… eight dancers and 40 hours of rehearsal time. Some will come into the studio with choreographic phrases already decided; others will teach the dancers a few shapes and connecting movements, then build on what they see evolve.  Some will complete their entire work in five days and use the rest of the time to coach the dancers in style and execution; others will progress more slowly, preferring to guide and define as they go along.

The choreographers set the tone and pace of the process and it is up to the dancers and our artistic staff to follow their lead. I have honestly never encountered two choreographers who approach their work in exactly the same way…and it’s precisely that tenuous aspect of this project that makes it so remarkable.

Click here for more information on the 3rd Biennial New American Talent/Dance.


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