In the first clip, the choreographer explains how he matched up his movement to Lin-Manuel Miranda's lyrics by showing the vocabulary he created to go with the words "I'm not throwing away my shot":
He not only demonstrates the steps themselves (with help from associate choreographer/dance captain Stephanie Klemons), but he takes us inside his process, explaining how he came up with each gesture. As you can see, he doesn't let a single moment in the choreography go to waste: Every detail serves a storytelling purpose—developing the characters, establishing the mood, foreshadowing the plot.
Blankenbuehler also teaches a phrase where the ensemble embodies what's going on inside Hamilton's head as the title character imagines his own death:
It's like taking a mini-master class in the show's style, with unparalleled insight into how Blankenbuehler created his Tony-nominated choreography.
Want more? Cast members Karla Garcia and Jon Rua teach back-to-back theater dance classes at Broadway Dance Center on Monday afternoons. (Their classes technically overlap, but you won't be the only Hamilton fan running from one to the next.)
And don't forget to nab a copy of Dance Magazine's June issue, highlighting the cast's amazing ensemble members—and exploring how the show's runaway success might create new possibilities for dance on Broadway.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?