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.
In a rare solo interview, Clara of Pod de Deux talked to Clara Cantor, thirteen year-old student at the School of American Ballet (SAB) and PDD’s youngest interviewee yet! (The interview took place at the New York apartment where Clara lives with her family, so you’ll hear some city background noise.) At a crossroads in her life, Clara spoke candidly of the decision she has to make between academics and pursuing ballet full-time. She also discussed how she currently balances school and dance, as well as her experience performing with the New York City Ballet as an SAB student.(more…)
Jessica and Clara visited choreographer and founder of BalletCollective, Troy Schumacher (and his cute dog Shallot), at his sunny apartment in NYC. We learned about Troy’s collaborative approach to creating ballets by integrating artists who work in different mediums, such as music and photography, into the process and presentation of work. We also discussed his current aesthetic interests and were impressed by his ability to balance the demands of multiple roles: choreographer, director of a contemporary ballet company and not least of all, ballet dancer with NYCB. We had the pleasure of seeing BalletCollective perform last fall and we look forward to seeing the company again on October 27th and 28th at NYU Skirball Center in Manhattan. Buy tickets before they sell out! Oh, and if you too are curious to see the “World’s Greatest Victory Dances” that Troy choreographed for PlayStation, check out the playlist on YouTube.(more…)
Credo: Choreography by Matthew Neenan for Ballet X
We brought costume designer Reid Bartelme back to the studio, nearly a year after our first interview with him, to delve further into his design process and his vast knowledge of the dance landscape at large. In the meantime to our 2015 interview, the New York Times published an article about Reid highlighting his ability to bring together often-disparate factions of the dance world. We addressed the themes of that article, including the best strategies for learning and educating across worlds, the stigmas that sometimes get attached to one dance world by another, and how the terms “downtown” and “uptown” come into play. (Check out Danspace Project!) As usual, Reid was a lively conversationalist and a complete pleasure to engage. Here are few photos of costumes by Reid & Harriet that came up in the course of conversation, including the notorious “S&M bunny” ears for Trey McIntyre’s Ballet X.
In this episode we found ourselves traversing a wide range of dance territory with the accomplished Costume Designer and Dancer, Reid Bartelme. We spent the majority of the hour exploring Reid’s process of finding his footing as a latecomer in the ballet world, where he nonetheless achieved early success dancing with some of North America’s top companies. We eventually got into costuming talk and speculated about dance in the world more broadly, questioning where responsibility lies for developing cross-genre understanding. In this episode you’ll get a lively look inside company life and a dancer’s mind!
Ask La Cour Rasmussen is a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, a native of Denmark and a creative explorer in his own right. We were thrilled to have the chance to speak with Ask about his time with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Bournonville technique for which Denmark is known and his lifestyle as a professional ballet dancer at some of the world’s premiere companies. In the process we learn that Ask is not only a workout enthusiast to put any gym-goer to shame but, like, totally not a bun head. Who knew? Learn more about Ask, Balanchine, NYCB and bun heads – all in this episode!