Inside DM

There’s something to be said about choreography that people hate. When someone can unsettle audiences as successfully as Hofesh Shechter does, it probably means they’re on to something. Watching Shechter’s work, you’re likely either invigorated by his dark, political statements and blaring music, or offended. You’re captivated by the inner child he slips into his choreography, or you find it childish. But no matter what, Shechter’s got everyone talking. And directors of several genres, from modern to ballet, Broadway to opera, want a piece of what he’s making.

 

Political Mother
“I like the ability to control a whole atmosphere, a whole situation, a flavor that comes from every direction.”—Hofesh Shechter, on composing the scores to his work. Hofesh Schecter Company in Political Mother. Photo by Tom Medwell, Courtesy Schecter.

In our cover story, writer Brian Schaefer digs into what it is about Shechter’s work that’s behind his meteoric rise. The choreographer himself describes his ascent as “phenomenal and weird,” and opens up about why he’s drawn to such uncomfortable subjects and flawed characters in his work.

 

For our choreography focus this issue, we also asked six other top artists how they handle that most-challenging part of every dance­maker’s process: choreographer’s block. (Garth Fagan’s advice: “Embrace the block. It means you’re going astray in a posi­tive way.”) And Emily Ramirez, a leading veteran dancer at Charlotte Ballet, breaks down seven top strategies dancers can use to get cast in prime roles when guest choreographers set work on their company.

 

Dance Magazine also visited Pennsylvania Ballet for a day to go inside company class and a rehearsal of Prodigal Son with new director Angel Corella. The former American Ballet Theatre star seems to be moving the troupe ever so slightly away from its Balanchine base—insisting on more classical technique from the dancers and freshening the rep with new work from major contemporary choreographers like Nacho Duato and Wayne McGregor. In a place where many still hold the Balanchine name sacred, it’s bound to be a controversial move. But that’s never been a good reason for an artist to hold back.

Jennifer Stahl

Jennifer Stahl
Editor in Chief
jstahl@dancemedia.com