ABT's Craig Salstein: A Man and a Myth

Salstein with Gemma Bond in the studio. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.
American Ballet Theatre soloist Craig Salstein knows a thing or two about juggling a busy schedule. Along with his performance career at ABT, he directs and choreographs for his own NYC-based group INTERMEZZO Dance Company. On Jan. 17-18 they'll perform From Myth to Philosophy, a program of five world premieres by Salstein, Adam Hendrickson, Ja'Malik, Cherylyn Lavagnino and Gemma Bond. We spoke with Salstein during the rehearsal process for Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter.

How do the dances relate to the program's name?
The pieces reference the idea of myths: narcissism, Hercules' triangle of love. I started the idea around Camus' essay, "The Myth of Sisyphus." But the program is more about dance than telling a story.

Where do you find your dancers?
I like to give these jobs to people who are not in a mainstream company. The core of my group is the freelancer, the person who did not get into the two major companies in New York City. That is part of why INTERMEZZO Dance Company exists. Sometimes you see adults give up because they just couldn't get into a certain company. I'm rooting for them.

What advice would you give to ballet dancers interested in choreographing?
Make sure you have a grip on the vocabulary and that you use it. And you have to build. You put letters together to make a word. Words together to make a sentence. And then you get a paragraph. Oh, and edit your work, too. Learn how to say good-bye to things. If something's not working, move on.

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