Pinkleton (right) rehearsing Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva, Courtesy ICM Partners

25 to Watch 2018: Sam Pinkleton

In 2017, Sam Pinkleton's choreography appeared on three Broadway stages simultaneously: in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Amélie and the play Significant Other. But until recently, he didn't even feel comfortable calling himself a choreographer.

Pinkleton, 30, studied directing at New York University, where his relentless enthusiasm and "willingness to jump off of high things" led people to ask him to make movement for their projects. Since then, he's been creating "absurd, totally ridiculous, un-self-conscious movement," working with people with a broad spectrum of abilities and backgrounds, both young and old.


"I'm just one tall, scarecrow-y gay white guy who moves a certain way," says Pinkleton. "So the fact that I would expect other people to move the way I do feels really presumptuous." His one-size-doesn't-fit-all approach to choreography earned him a Tony nomination for The Great Comet, with an ensemble of dancers and musicians thrashing one moment and waltzing the next through nearly every portion of the theater.

It may seem like Pinkleton's been branded for Broadway, but, aside from the new musical Soft Power in L.A. and Trouble in Tahiti for Dutch National Opera this spring, his upcoming work is anything but proscenium-bound: "Even when I'm making theater, the idea of making it in club venues, in churches and basements and public parks is and has always been in the front seat for me."


Find out who else made Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" list this year.

Latest Posts


J. Alice Jackson, Courtesy CHRP

Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Rhythm World Finally Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

What happens when a dance festival is set to celebrate a landmark anniversary, but a global pandemic has other plans?

Chicago's Rhythm World, the oldest tap festival in the country, should have enjoyed its 30th iteration last summer. Disrupted by COVID-19, it was quickly reimagined for virtual spaces with a blend of recorded and livestreamed classes. So as not to let the pandemic rob the festival of its well-deserved fanfare, it was cleverly marketed as Rhythm World 29.5.

Fortunately, the festival returns in full force this year, officially marking three decades of rhythm-making with three weeks of events, July 26 to August 15. As usual, the festival will be filled with a variety of master classes, intensive courses and performances, as well as a teacher certification program and the Youth Tap Ensemble Conference. At the helm is Chicago native Jumaane Taylor, the newly appointed festival director, who has curated both the education and performance programs. Taylor, an accomplished choreographer, came to the festival first as a young student and later as part of its faculty.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
July 2021