He recently spoke to Dance Magazine about his unique creative process.
He Starts Each Project By Asking, Why Is This On Film?
"When I'm filming dance, the question for me is always, How can video add a new dimension to this dance as opposed to just holding a lens up to it?"
Storytelling is Key For Grabbing Viewers
"In concert dance, we're used to the luxury of viewers already being in seats and engaged. But when you're putting video on the internet, the attention span is very different. You have to find ways to keep engaging the viewer."
"Even if it's 30 seconds long, I'm always trying to figure out what the narrative hook is. Everyone likes to invest in a story, even subconsciously.
"With my upbringing at the School of American Ballet, and my fluency with Balanchine and Robbins, I naturally take a sort of neoclassical approach to storytelling. It doesn't need to be a classic narrative to have a story."
"Because I'm so used to dance, as a filmmaker I can easily engage in physically driven narrative. I don't need dialogue."
He Does His Own Kind Of Choreography Behind The Camera
"I work with a choreographer on things like how a phrase should be framed, what vantage point would be most unpredictable, whether we want to accentuate the movement by moving the camera or is that actually going to take away from the excitement of the movement."
He Can Stretch A Budget Like A Dancer
"I put 99 percent of my budget into one or two days of production. Which means I can't lean on a ton of other resources. So for now it's me and Google figuring out effects like how to make it rain inside of a theater."
He Still Aspires To Be Peter Boal
"All my work—whether dance or non-dance content—feels fluid in a way. I was like that as a dancer, too. I always tried to be Peter Boal."
Being a Dancer Can Be Handy—And a Handicap
"My familiarity with dance allows me to make sure the content is enjoyed both by laymen who might not know if the positions are right and the dancers who'll cringe if they're not. But like any perfectionist, sometimes that's too narrow a perspective to have; technique is not always as important as you think it is."
So, What's Next?
"I have a twofold dream: I want to do a feature film, but first, a Target commercial."
Devon Teuscher performing the titular role in Jane Eyre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT
Story ballets that debut during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House are always the subject of much curiosity—and, sometimes, much debate. Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre was no different. The ballet follows the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brönte's novel as she grows from a willful orphan to a self-possessed governess, charting her romance with the haughty Mr. Rochester and the social forces that threaten to tear them apart.
While the ballet was warmly received in the UK when Northern Ballet premiered it in 2016, its reception from New York City–based critics has been far less welcoming. A group of editors from Dance Magazine and two of our sister publications, Dance Spirit and Pointe, sat down to discuss our own reactions.