After a brief summer hiatus, we got back into the studio and conducted a Skype interview with Houston Ballet’s Harper Watters. Harper has made a name for himself on social media with comedic videos and brand partnerships, as well as a web series of his own creation. We spoke to him about the importance (personal and professional!) of being completely oneself, what it means to represent ballet, and how dancers can seek opportunities beyond the company structure through social media and proactive exploration of their individual interests. The message that emerged was an empowering one of escaping rigid stereotypes through individuality. We will be sure to post on social media when Harper’s upcoming documentary, Danseur, is available for viewing!
Harper Watters is a Soloist with the Houston Ballet, one of the top 5 largest professional ballet companies in the US. In 2011 he won the prestigious Prix De Lausanne and in 2015 he won the Princess Grace Award for Dance Achievement. He’s worked with leading choreographers such as George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, William Forsythe and Tony award winner Christopher Wheeldon. He’s accumulated over 143 thousand followers on Instagram and created the web series ’The Pre Show’ which highlights the behind the scenes stage life of professional dancers on his YouTube channel. His videos have been featured on numerous media outlets, and his social media presence has allowed him to work with photographers such as Mike Ruiz, Gerardo Vizmanos, and Ryan Pfluger for the New Yorker. He’s been featured in the pages of fashion magazine, ‘Risk Magazine,’ ‘Dance Magazine,’ and ‘Pointe Magazine,’ and he has even graced the cover of DanceSpirit’s February 2018 issue. You may also have seen him in his viral videos in heels on a treadmill as well. Harper will be featured in the forthcoming documentary, Danseur, which explores why there are so few males in dance and sheds light on the difficult subjects of bullying and homophobia while illustrating the vitality of ballet.
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…)
We made it to episode 10 and what a year it has been! In this episode, we talk to dancer/choreographer/sound designer/DJ Jeremy Nedd about dancing in New York City for dance luminary Kyle Abraham and his experience in Europe as a dancer, choreographer and sound designer. We chatted and wondered about dance snobbery, audience engagement, and intellectual and conceptual dance traditions. Our favorite quote from Jeremy: “Ballet is a feeling.” We could not agree more. Jeremy Nedd studied at SUNY Purchase and danced in New York City before relocating to Europe to dance with the Dresden SemperOper and the Basel Ballett. He has had the opportunity to perform works by Forsythe, Kylian, Thoss, Ekman and others.
Brock Labrenz of An Films is a New York-based director who harnesses his extensive background in performance to create deliberate and sensual audio-visual experiences. His creative endeavors find him somewhere between the exactitude of modern cinema and the ephemeral transition of the body through space.
In this episode, Brock shared his experiences training as a dancer at Juilliard and dancing for William Forsythe–in particular, Forsythe’s creative process. We learned what it was like investigating Forsythe’s concept of choreographic objects in Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time and how audiences engaged with this work. Brock also revealed how his interests in dance and film developed over time and how both mediums support his current work.
We had an intriguing discussion about the role of the choreographer in developing audience values and the importance in creating a conversation with the audience around a concept or process. We also discussed how work conditions in the US and Europe have varying effects on the creative process and performance experience.