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Conversation with a Choreographer: GREGORY DOLBASHIAN


by Tiffany Bailey


and Bleachers by award-winning choreographer and Dark Circles Founder Joshua L. Peugh and Evermore by New York- based guest choreographer Gregory Dolbashian. Dolbashian, hailed byMinnesota Star Tribune as “distinct and highly relevant to the 21st century,”makes his North Texas debut with his cin- ematic new work, Evermore. He explains his creative process as research that includes “detail, dancing, and a touch of the unexpected.”With amusical score arranged by Dolbashian himself, Evermore addresses the nature of human connection through forms of contact, touch, and physical storytelling. “Who you involve, who you attract, and who you encounter is what unlocks life and all its progress,” says Dolbashian.


D


I spoke with guest choreographer Gregory Dolbashian about his work, his training and whatmight be in his creative future.


TB - You have an incredibly diverse background ranging from theatre to opera, hip-hop and ballet. Do you have a favorite dis- cipline? How has this range in technique helped your ability as a performer?


GD - I got to always growup with classics of all kinds. Bothmy parents are classically basedmusicians, I was born and raised in New York so hip-hop has been a part ofmy life for a long time, both classic and newand when I started dancing I felt at home in both the tradition of classical ballet and also the inno- vation of other styles of dance. I was never very good at ballet but I like it, hehe. Hip-hop givesme a lot of inspiration and helps contribute tomy style. I always listen to different raps and hip-hop songswhen I’m creating work. It helpsme think, and findmy swagger. It’s like the studio ismy kitchen andmy favorite rap songs at the time aremy soundtrack, and I’mtry- ing to cook up the best possible recipes withmy ingredients of the day.


I think that theater has helpedme withmy language and artic- ulation. As a choreographer you are always working to verbally express clarity, vision, and intention and I think allmy work with spoken language has really helpedme with that. All of this variety has definitely contributed to creating a unique and vibrantmovement language and I think it also allowsme to shift and relate to all the different personalities I encounter in my collaborators. I think it’s all represented inmy parents actu- ally.Mymomis an opera singer so that’s where I getmy classi- cismandmy dad is a drummer so that’s where I getmy rhythm, and I think I getmy soul fromboth of themcom- bined.


TB - In your opinion,what are the best training/education plans for an aspiring dancer?


page 16 May-July 2017 www.thedancecouncil.org Pictured:GregoryDolbashian


GD-Well aside fromtraining with rigor and excitement in the actual craft, it’s important that young artists are educated in the aspect of careermanagement and financial planning. The real education comes fromknowing how to build partnerships, understanding how tomaneuver a freelance life, being able to read contracts, understanding what to agree with or not, and realizing howmuch work and time and craft goes into the way you carry yourself as a person almost beyond how talented you are. Because people are working with the person, not just the dancer, and how you build your life is tantamount to your pro- fessional longevity. I would like to see schools teach their stu- dents how to use some of thatmoney that they are paying the conservatories with. I would like to seemore seminars and workshops focused on the approach of networking, using social media effectively, and the ability to build a professional and confident foundation to carry themselves with. Each artist is their own company unto themselves in a sense so that IQ needs to be sharpened and paid attention to. Also, understand- ing the need for financial affluency is key. It’s a huge part of how tomanage your career and how to keep yourself in place where you cannot just barely survive, but thrive to be able to amass and gainmore.


TB -What was it like to grow up and live in New York as an artist?


GD- That was probably the best education. You are around so much stimulation, excitement, and just activity. It also pushes your pedigree really fast because everyone here is passionate, excited, and good at what they do. Youmeet people fromall interests, races, and backgrounds. You connect to a wide range of cultural opportunity, and you learn how to navigate a vast city via public transportation which is a beautiful conquest in and of itself. It definitely has its challenges and sometimes I worry about the increase in wealth and real estate in the city


DANCE!NORTHTEXAS a publication of the dance council of north texas vol. 20 • no. 2


ark Circles Contemporary Dance concludes its 2016-17 Season with an ingenious Spring Series program. The dynamic company presents three world premieres: Halt!


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