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ABT's Gemma Bond: From Corps to Choreographer

Photo by Jim Lafferty

On top of dancing in American Ballet Theatre's corps, Gemma Bond is a budding dancemaker. (Last year, we featured her as one of three rising female choreographers.) Now, she's gathered some fellow ABT dancers for her first full evening of work, Gemma Bond Dance: HARVEST. Catch it Feb. 4-6 at Danspace Project in NYC. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with Bond about the program.

How did HARVEST come about?
Originally, the dancers and I just wanted to develop our individual skills. Some wanted to work with a choreographer more, and I wanted to create more. During ABT's layoffs, generally the principals can work with other companies, but there aren't as many opportunities for the corps.
What's the most challenging part of producing your own program?
Being in The Royal Ballet and now with ABT, I never saw that side of preparation. From stage management to how to lay the floor to which floor is best--all those tiny details. And when you're in a small space, like I am, there's nobody producing you. But it's amazing. I've learned a lot.
Where do you find inspiration for your choreography?
I always start with the music and how I feel about it. I have this very famous piece on the program by Liszt, and I know people are going to recognize it. But this is how I see the music. Normally my work is about human relationships, whether it's with your friends or with colleagues from work.
Any advice for ballet dancers interested in choreographing?
It's just practice. The more hours I get in, the more I learn and the less anxious I feel. Try to listen to different genres of music because it pushes you. At first, I thought that wanting to express myself by setting steps to music was part of being a dancer. But when I learned some structural things about choreographing, it really helped me understand why I liked it.
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