Tomorrow, Pennsylvania Ballet II performs four new dance works created on the dancers of the company by four talented choreographers with deep connection to Philadelphia ballet scene. The program is hosted by PA Ballet’s artistic director, Angel Corella with one hour of performance, followed by a reception. Before the special one-night-only performance, some of the talented choreographers took a moment to talk to Phindie about their choreographies and their thoughts.
Russell Ducker, born in Basingstoke, United Kingdom received his dance training at the Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge and the Royal Ballet Upper School, Covent Garden, After he graduated from the school, he performed with “Angel Corella and Friends,” and soon thereafter joined Angel Corella’s Barcelona Ballet. With this company, Ducker had the opportunity to dance various soloist and principal roIes. He also gained opportunities to choreograph several ballets for the company including; Built to Fall Apart, Argon, Bourbon Street, The Fall (international premiere in Beijing), Suspended in Time (international premiere in Buenos Aires), Epimetheus (international premiere in New York) and In the Wake of Bliss (international premiere in Florence, Italy). Ducker joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet for the 2014-2015 Season.[The Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street] February 25, 2017; paballet.org
Russell Ducker: My choreography is inspired by Shel Silverstein’s poetry and its style is musical (Russell performed in Cameron Mackintosh’s West End production of Oklahoma alongside Hugh Jackman and Maureen Lipman). The PA Ballet II dancers who are performing in this Choreographic Workshop are at the age between childhood and adult. Silverstein’s poetry is age appropriate and has innocent side to it, but it also has a very dark moral undertake. I felt that it could be a perfect material for the young dancers to reflect themselves in the dance.
Phindie: How has the choreographing process with the dancers been?
Russell: It certainly has been a very interesting learning experience. They are young dancers and I felt I needed to see how far I could push and how much I could challenge them. It turned out that they interacted and responded with great passion.
Phindie: Do you complete your choreography before you start showing dancers or do you choreograph on spot with dancers?
Russell: I like to choreograph before putting it on dancers. It is important for me to decide what outcome would be. At the same time collaboration with dancers is key aspect. The process is give and take.
Phindie: What is your favorite part of your choreography?
Russell: This dance piece is like a story. It feels like the poem connect to each other and the dancers interact through the theme.
Phindie: You have had some opportunities to visit many places around the world. What do you like about Philadelphia?
Russell: I like Philadelphia a lot. The city is perfect size to feel excited but not to feel drowned. It has the culture and the history, and people are modest and warm. I have wonderful fellow dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet and of course the artistic director, Angel Corella. The director pushes us so much and we are excited to make something exciting and inspiring every single day.
[The Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street] February 25, 2017; paballet.org