Saturday, September 26, 2015

Literature and choreography

From The Allusionist episode Architecting about Dance: the choreographer and movement director Steven Hoggett is talking with Helen Zaltzman about what studying literature has meant to his work.

Hoggett: It’s absolutely the bedrock for my choreographic career. I thank my lucky stars I spent many years poring over books rather than being in a studio, because I would have been a terrible pure dancer.

Zaltzamn: That’s really extraordinary. How do you think the poring over books created the modern you?

Hoggett: Because your imagination — I was encouraged to use my imagination way into my twenties, when I was still studying. Somebody was saying, “Don’t just read the book, think about it.” That’s what’s also helped me in every instance of being able to try to communicate and use language and words and reinvent my kind of language every time you do a new piece, because that company is different, that task is different, the show is different. And it does require a choreographer to be responsive to a room, and to find expressions and terms and words, literal phrases, that make sense for each project.
A New York Times article says of Hoggett in his twenties: “[he] studied literature at Swansea University in Wales and had little training in theater or dance.”

I’ve been following The Allusionist since June and recommend it with enthusiasm.

[I’ve made several corrections in this excerpt from the show’s transcript.]

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