Pod de Deux podcast episodes

Jennifer Tipton

Jennifer Tipton

Jessica had the pleasure of interviewing lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, who was recently nominated for a Tony award for her work on A Doll’s House Part 2 (on Broadway through July 23rd).  Jessica and Jennifer chatted over coffee about many aspects of her process starting with her approach to collaboration with directors and choregraphers, to how she gets inspiration, key differences in lighting dance and theater, as well as trends in lighting, and tricks of the trade.

Jennifer Tipton is an internationally recognized lighting designer whose distinctive designs have redefined the relationship between lighting and performance. Tipton has been an important presence throughout her prolific career in dance, drama, and opera productions of all scales, and she is regarded as one of the most versatile designers working today. Best known for her work in dance, Tipton’s painterly lighting evokes mood and defines and sculpts movement. Preferring a small but powerful palette of colors, she pioneered the use of white light in theatre and dance. For both small theatre and Broadway productions, Tipton’s artistry interacts intimately with the work’s physical appearance and emotional resonance.  As a committed teacher, Tipton has influenced a generation of lighting designers, and her dramatic imagination continues to push the visual boundaries of lighting design in new and exciting directions.

She has designed lighting for numerous dance performances for such companies as the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and for theatrical productions at such venues as St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Public Theatre, and the Metropolitan Opera, among many others. Since 1994, she has served as an adjunct professor of lighting design at the Yale University School of Drama.

I TRY TO MORPH MYSELF INTO THAT PERSONALITY: Vincent Paterson

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We had the incredible fortune of connecting with Vincent Paterson, Director and Choreographer who has created some of the most iconic moments in pop culture. Joining us remotely via Skype, Vincent spoke candidly and humorously of his work with Michael Jackson and Madonna, among other legends, and shared a few of the fun stories from his upcoming book. We delved into the process and nature of choreographing for celebrities who come to the table with their own style, as well as the range of responsibilities ascribed to a choreographer and to a director for large-scale commercial or creative projects. Over the course of the conversation, we definitely got a sense of why so many people from all across the arts world love to work with Vincent. We’re honored and excited to share the interview with you, our listeners!

Vincent Paterson has worked extensively with superstars Madonna and Michael Jackson, and his work has been presented in every possible space and format, including film, theater, Broadway, concert tours, opera, music videos, television and commercials. The works he created for Madonna include her BLOND AMBITION TOUR, considered by many to be the greatest pop spectacle of all time, as well as her legendary Marie Antoinette VOGUE performance for MTV and the choreography for her videos EXPRESS YOURSELF and VOGUE. For Michael Jackson, with whom Vincent worked for over 15 years, he created the BAD TOUR, as well as SMOOTH CRIMINAL, BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR and multiple other Jackson music videos and live performances. Vincent’s other directorial and choreographic works include, but are by no means limited to, Berlin’s first original production of the musical CABARET, now the longest running play in Berlin’s history; the Lars Von Trier’s film, DANCER IN THE DARK; the movie HOOK for Steven Spielberg; and Cirque du Soleil’s, VIVA! ELVIS in Las Vegas.

BLOW PEOPLE AWAY THE FIRST TIME THEY SEE DANCE: Eric Gauthier

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Clara recently sat down with Eric Gauthier at the Joyce Theater when his company, Gauthier Dance, presented the New York premiere of NIJINSKI. We got through many topics in a short time in this interview, covering Eric’s early inspiration to pursue dance (thanks to the musical Cats!), the process that allowed him to establish Gauthier Dance and grow the company relatively rapidly under the auspices of Theaterhaus Stuttgart, and his overall mission to connect with new and expanded dance audiences by presenting the “sunny side of modern dance.” He explained how Gauthier Dance is like a clown, on one side humor and on the other side a foundation of tragedy. Based on what we’ve seen of the company, we certainly agree and couldn’t recommend them more strongly. (more…)

Dance/NYC Symposium 2017

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Jessica and Clara returned to Dance Symposium this year on Sunday, March 5th, interviewing panelists and audience members on concepts and issues of interest to the dance community.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the topics you’ll hear covered in this episode, as well as an extended version with information about each segment:

Minute 0:0 0- 21:17 – Designing the Future of Dance Education

21:18 – 32:28 – New Technologies, New Dance, New Audiences Conversation

32:30 – 36:30 – National Dance Advocacy Workshop

36:31 – End – Igniting Public Passions and Participation in the 21st Century

Minute 0:00 – 21:17 – Designing the Future of Dance Education (more…)

THIS IS DEEPER THAN ART: Jason Samuels Smith

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In this episode we connected with our first-ever tap dancer – and one of the very best in the field – Jason Samuels Smith. (See also Divine Rhythm Productions!) As a special bonus, we were also joined by filmmaker Simone Maurice whose documentary about Jason, “Lost In The Shuffle,” just premiered at the Dance on Camera Festival (on Facebook here). With Jason, we discussed what it takes to become an extraordinary tap dancer and how tap tends to be perceived and represented. From there, we delved “deeper than art” and learned about the many early contributors to, and even inventors of, the dance form who have been little recognized or marginalized over the years. With Simone and Jason both, we learned about the misinformation surrounding the roots of tap dance and, in the end, put out a call to YOU, our listeners: write the real story! No secondary sources allowed. (more…)

DANCE ON CAMERA FESTIVAL, 2017!

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Marie’s Attitude by Kristi Grunditz

Jessica and Clara returned to the Dance on Camera Festival this year. We were on-site on Saturday, February 4th, interviewing interns, filmmakers, dancers and audience members about a range of films including documentary, narrative and choreography.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the topics you’ll hear covered in this episode, as well as an extended version with information about each segment after the “Read More” tag:

Minute 0-5:40 – Into Sunlight (feature)

5:40-15:54 – Jonah (short)

15:54-39:53 – Marie’s Attitude (feature) and Broken Memories (short)

39:53-54:14 – VR (Virtual Reality) Projects

54:14-End – Shorts Program (various short films) (more…)

Bonus episode: Barak Heymann, Producer of Mr. Gaga

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Jessica caught Tomer and Barak Heymann (the Producer and Film Director duo of Heymann Brothers Films) after a Q&A at Film Society of Lincoln Center while promoting the release of Mr. Gaga, their acclaimed documentary film about Ohad Naharin.  Naharin is is the long-standing Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company and subject of the film which follows his life from childhood until the present.  Jessica interviewed Barak and learned more about the filmmaking process, where the idea for the film came about, how Tomer selected archival footage, and how Ohad reacted to seeing the film for the first time.

Do not miss this film! It is screening at Film Forum and Lincoln Center through February 16th.   Learn more about Mr. Gaga at http://www.mrgagathefilm.com/.  And learn more about Tomer and Barak’s films at http://heymannfilms.com/.