GEORGE WALKER: I’m George Walker. The IU Ballet Theatre’s Choreography Project: Composer Collaborative is new this year. It replaces an older program called Hammer and Nail. Our guests are choreograhers Sarah Knutsen from Baltimore, Maryland and Andrew Rossi from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Sarah got into ballet early as a two-year old influenced by a picture book. Her mother picked up on the early interest and so Sarah at twenty has eighteen years of dance training behind her. For Andrew it took a little longer. He appeared as an actor in musical theatre until high school. Then Andrew switched over to dance full time.
For Sarah the choice of a composer was a matter of picking a name out of a hat. She came up with IU Jacobs School of Music’s composer Ben Hoppe. With the pandemic the two of them communicated by e-mail and zoom as their ideas came together. She describes the process as a bit of give and take. She would come up with choreographed dance moves and Ben would either match his music to them or suggest an alternative. Eventually, the piece came together to both of their satisfaction. Her three-dancer choreography piece is entitled Dreams Adrift and Ben’s musical piece is called Dreamscape. Sarah is a sophomore for a week and a half before she reaches junior status. She’s planning on taking a class from her outside minor and then more dance during the summer.
Andrew Rossi is a graduating senior and he’s a successful grad, as he’s got an apprenticeship with the Kansas City Ballet. His choreography piece is a big one involving all eight of the graduating seniors. Andrew was quick to point out that most of the other pieces will involve three or even four dancers, but he had to include all of his graduating class. His composer is Sam Epstein. Sam is a graduating senior and he does have an outside minor from the Jacobs School in composition. Again there was more give and take in the process of the choreography and the music. However, the composer was more a part of the process. Choreographer Andrew calls his piece Beginning’s End while composer Sam is happier with Nocturne in D major.
This is the first year that the Choreography Project: Composer Collaborative will take place. Sarah expressed her excitement to be able to see her work come together on the stage. As we talked she was preparing for the lighting and tech’ rehearsals in the afternoon. Andrew is a little more composed, he is after all a senior.
The Choreography Project: Composer Collaborative is available at IUMusicLive! this Thursday, April 29 from two to four.
For WFIU Arts, I’m George Walker.