From left: David Morse; Cincinnati Ballet's Michael Mengden and Bella Ureta in rehearsal for Morse's upcoming work. Photos by Jennifer Denham, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet.

At Cincinnati Ballet's Kaplan New Works Series, Dancers Take On the Role of Choreographer

For Cincinnati Ballet artistic director Victoria Morgan, the company's annual Kaplan New Works Series is all about invention. "If you're comfortable, then you're not in the right place," she says. This year's program, held September 13–23 at the Aronoff Center, features a new kind of invention: Two company dancers will step into the role of choreographer for the first time. Soloist David Morse and corps dancer Taylor Carrasco will join contemporary queen Mia Michaels, Cincinnati Ballet resident choreographer Jennifer Archibald and San Francisco Ballet dancer Myles Thatcher in creating new works.



Morse and Carrasco were selected from a choreographic contest held within the company. "We chose them for completely different reasons," says Morgan. Morse's work, Gathering, is set to a minimalist score, and centers on four couples. "It looks at the innate human desire for ritual and its transformative power," he says. Carrasco's work, says Morgan, is "wacky." He took his inspiration from punk marching band Mucca Pazza's album Plays Well Together. "It reminded me of some of the most joyous times in my life, which have been at parties with people I didn't know, but where we were just being humans together," says Carrasco.

Giving dancers the chance to develop as choreographers is a priority for the company, which puts on skill-building workshops each year. "I think it's important to have that experience of standing in front of the room with all those eyes looking at you," says Morgan. "It gives you some empathy for the choreographers you'll be working with in the future."

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yonah Acosta in Sin La Habana, Courtesy Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival Is Streaming 2 Films Spotlighting Cuban Ballet Dancers, Including Yonah Acosta

Many ballet companies are sharing digital productions these days, but if you want to get your ballet fix on the silver screen, the Miami Film Festival has something for you—and you don't have to fly to Miami to see it! Two ballet-centric films, the drama Sin La Habana (Without Havana) and documentary Cuban Dancer, will be featured in theaters and virtually at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival, running March 5 to 14.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks