Charting New Territory at SFB

This interview appeared in the January 16 Pointe e-newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, click here.

This month, San Francisco Ballet premieres Borderlands, its first commissioned work by cerebral choreographer Wayne McGregor. Pointe's e-news spoke with SFB principal Frances Chung about McGregor's singular style.

What is McGregor's choreographic process like? 

Wayne's choreography is born from an image or idea created in his head and then transferred to the dancers' bodies. He is usually specific about where to initiate each movement--whether it's from your heel, your elbows or even your ribcage. And he'll come up with fascinating analogies that clarify the choreography for you.

Have you had any trouble adapting to his style? 

In some ways, it's foreign to us classical dancers. There's no real vocabulary to describe it. And while he's kind and encouraging, he's also very demanding. I don't think rehearsals became any easier as time went on, but we learned to come into them prepared. We were constantly going over material from each rehearsal--in the hallways on our breaks, in the lounge at lunch, even in our sleep!

 

How would you describe Borderlands?  
As I see it, it shows everything from wild creatures roaming vast lands, to intimate human relationships full of lust and love, to the building and decay of physical and spiritual structures. I think every performance will be a new discovery, which is what I love most about his choreography.

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