Become The Muse: What Choreographers Want
What do choreographers look for in dancers? I always love hearing the wild range of answers dancemakers give whenever we ask them that question. Their responses vary like crazy, but even when someone's super specific about technical qualities they want in the dancers they hire, I've yet to hear someone ask for only “great extensions and turnout.” (Thank goodness.)
In Dance Magazine editor at large Wendy Perron’s “Choreography in Focus” video series, in which she chats with top choreographers about their process and latest projects, this question is something she almost always asks. My favorite responses tell you just as much about the choreographers themselves as what dancrs who want to work for them should strive for:
Susan Marshall: “I like dancers who are clearly thinkers, who are making choices, who have an active interior life.”
Varone and Perron
Doug Varone: “I look for dancers who are mature. Even though they might be young, they have an old soul.”
Tere O’Connor: “I’m looking for people who have a certain kind of expression, and maybe a little bit of a fatigue of doing that expression… Just being in a constant state of questioning, saying, 'What are we doing here? Why am I doing this?' And then letting that happen. Just a very kind of complex presence onstage.”
Annie-B Parson: “I’m looking for people who can be dry.”
Margo Sappington: “Diversity. You have to be able to tap.”
Perron and Neenan
Matthew Neenan: “Heart. And I think coordination—they don’t necessarily have to have the most beautiful balletic line…but their body understands how to get from A to B to P and Z. And they understand how it feels to be lifted up and really earthy.”
Dwight Rhoden: “They have to have a sense of who they are. Or if they don’t know who they are yet, they have an idea of who they want to be.”
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