PC Marcus Branch

#DanceCrush: Why Teddy Tedholm Has Us Mesmerized

Teddy Tedholm stepped into the mainstream dance scene back in 2010, with a "So You Think You Can Dance" audition that was unlike any performance we've seen on that show to date.


After graduating from University of the Arts he began to produce his own work, including eleven:eleven, a vulnerable and mesmerizing full-length show that received rave reviews. Tedholm has also been nominated for a World Dance Award, and was a finalist in the McCallum Theater Choreography Festival and the Capezio A.C.E. Awards.

With a movement style that is anything but conventional, Tedholm has found a way to push aside the boundaries placed around what is "allowed" in the commercial dance world. His emotive and gesturally rich storytelling stems from an equally passionate creative process. "It can feel emotionally sacrificial in the moment," says Tedholm. "But in the long run, the truer I have stayed to my vision and to myself, the more fulfilled I am and the better received my work has been. Shoveling through the dirt to find the gold is tiring, but worth it."


Tedholm currently has his own company, tedted Performance Group, which is presenting the beginnings of a new work at Gibney Dance Center August 10-12 as part of a mentorship program with Doug Varone.

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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