An Interview with choreographer, Emery LeCrone
Level 9 students, Kimberly Lilienstein and Allison Sugino recently had the opportunity to interview choreographer, Emery LeCrone, whose ballet, Symphonic Études will premier as part of the 2014 BAE Spring Performance, May 16-18 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater.
Tickets for the performance are on sale at Ticket Central.
Kimberly Lilienstein and Allison Sugino: When did you begin choreographing? Tell us about your first experience.
Emery LeCrone: I started creating work while a dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre in 2006. I danced in the first ballet I ever created. It was for three couples in the second company. The work was very well received and we toured it all across North Carolina for the whole year.
It was also the first work I ever presented in New York City.
KL and AS: When choreographing a piece how do you approach the creation process? What do you draw inspiration from?
EL: The inspiration for a work changes all the time. Sometimes it’s certain dancers, sometimes a specific place, a feeling, or a mood that inspires me. For this particular piece the inspiration came from the music first. My friend David Aladashvili performed the piece at a recent concert and I instantly fell in love with it. I did some more research about the piece and then decided that I wanted to work with it. It was a large undertaking because it’s such a large piece and the rehearsal process was so fast.
KL and AS: Recently you premiered two pieces set to the same music, one classically based and the other contemporary, at the Guggenheim as a part of their Works and Process series. Was it difficult to interpret the same music in two different ways?
EL: I actually really loved the experience. Of course it was a challenge trying to create two visions that equally realize the music through separate vocabulary, but I always feel I work better when there is a task to be accomplished and a very specific goal to reach. It is rare to have the time to work on a project as large as that and to be able to really study your craft. I loved every minute of it.
KL and AS: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a choreographer?
EL: Maintaining the ability to be consistently creating new works. Choreography is a collaborative art form. You have to have dancers, time, and space, in order to work. As a freelance artist it takes a lot of organization and determination to make sure that you can remain in the studio throughout the year. I travel a lot to other companies and then when I have some down time in New York I still try to be in the studio with my own dancers so I don’t lose momentum.
KL and AS: What qualities do you look for in a dancer?
EL: Personality, maturity, confidence, intuition. I like working with dancers who bring their personalities into the rehearsal. I need dancers who are malleable and who can also contribute to the process. It takes a lot of trust and openness to create new work with someone. Ultimately I need dancers who can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. Consistency is also important as well as a desire to grow.
KL and AS: What advice would you give to an aspiring choreographer?
EL: I would say to believe in yourself and your work; to take risks and to create as much as you can, always. To really explore those things that you think make your work unique as well as those things that you find you have a hard time tackling. Choreographing is like anything else, you have to practice it and you have to keep challenging yourself. Even when you feel like you don’t have anything to say, make something anyway. Oftentimes you may surprise yourself.
KL and AS: Tell us about your experience choreographing at BAE.
EL: I have really loved working at BAE. There is something about working with younger dancers that really is like nothing else. There is an attitude in the room of freshness and the ability to try anything. Eagerness and exuberance abound. That is something I really tried to touch on in my piece; a youthful joyousness, an innocence, but also a developing maturity and a depth that I see in dancers. It’s like you can see glimpses of the women and men they become and the professionals they are growing into. It really is such an exciting time and a great place to be and to work. There is so much potential and I really love that feeling in the studio.