NYU Skirball Center

WE WERE MAKING A LOT OF NOISE: John Kelly

JK-3_Photo-by-Josef-Astor

Jessica and Clara interviewed choreographer, dancer, actor, and director, John Kelly, in between rehearsals for his work “Underneath the Skin,” premiering at NYU Skirball this weekend, October 11th & 12th! John took us through his constellation of muses, influences, and inspiration through the years, from his first sighting of baby ballerina on the Ed Sullivan Show, to Nureyev and Fontaine dancing Romeo and Juliette on television, to his training at ABT, followed by the Harkness School with David Howard – and then on to his chats with Gelsey Kirkland, working with Charles Weidman, painting portraits as an artist, watching punk drag queens at Pyramid, and dancing with Larry Ray’s original Trockadero company, the Cockettes. Through this journey, John talked about how he became drawn to art with physicality and expressionism.  For his upcoming show, “Underneath the Skin,” we learned about John’s process of weaving Samuel Steward’s writings, life story, and LGBT history into the theatrical narrative and rich visual design while paying homage to Steward’s heros, Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde.

John Kelly is a performance and visual artist, vocalist, and dancer whose multifaceted career spans more than three decades. His performance works are sometimes autobiographical or character-driven, and other times focus on the struggles encountered by artists and social outsiders, and the nature of creative genius. He has received 2 Obie Awards, 2 Bessie Awards, 2 NEA American Masterpieces Awards, and fellowships from The American Academy in Rome, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. John employs theatrical, visual, movement-based, and vocal means of expression in his works. He will be presenting a new work entitled “Underneath the Skin” at NYU Skirball October 11th & 12th.

FINDING COMMON GROUND: Troy Schumacher

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Credo: Ike Edeani


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…)