Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meet the 2013 ChoreoFest Participants: Ryan P. Casey!

There is an abundance of modern and contemporary dance happening in the area so when we were graced with applications beyond this genre it was pretty hard to contain our excitement.  Even more exciting is the fact that Ryan Casey, master of all things rhythmic/noisy/foot-related, will be bringing a slew of tappers to 24-Hr ChoreoFest.  Yet another reason to come check out the shows on Saturday, 2pm and 4pm, at the Dance Complex.

Ryan, tell us about yourself!

RC: I grew up in Lexington, MA, at The Dance Inn, studying tap since the age of 5 with Thelma Goldberg and Kelly Kaleta. Many of my dancers trained there, too; we were members of the studio's acclaimed Legacy Dance Company until we graduated high school. From there, I went to NYU, where I studied journalism and literature while continuing to teach and perform and dabbling in choreography. I'm a founding member of Michelle Dorrance's company, Dorrance Dance, which she started in 2011. Last year, I assembled my choreography into a full-length show, "Transitions," and called some of my closest dance friends, and one of my best students, to help bring my vision to life. So far, we've presented it in Maine, Massachusetts & New York, and we've performed excerpts at various festivals and on TV. I look forward to being in the Boston area over the next year, strengthening my connections within the dance community and continuing to work with my wonderful cast of dancers.

LDC: How do you feel in advance of ChoreoFest?  What do you hope to accomplish, personally and choreographically?
RC: I think the festival will be a terrific bonding experience for me and my dancers (and the other participating companies, as well). We get along and work together so well, since we have known each other for so long, but haven't ever participated in something like this, so I think it will be a worthwhile experience for us as a troupe. It's also, honestly, an excuse to create a new piece; I'm always busy creating in the summer because that's when we all have the most free time. I love knowing that in 24 hours we'll draft an entire piece that we can continue to transform. I've never created work within such limited time, so I look forward to learning how I'll handle the pressure as a choreographer and how we all will handle it as a group. I think I'll emerge from this experience with a better knowledge of myself as a choreographer and director.

LDC: Tell us about your typical creative process.
RC: I usually develop the concept for a piece by listening to music that I want to dance to and thinking about some of the themes and ideas I want to explore (Recently, for example, I've been inspired to work on a set of dances about hipsters, and another about superheroes). I spend a lot of time selecting music -- it has to be catchy, clever, unique -- and then I get into the studio and start making things up. I keep a notebook of ideas, possible songs, phrases to remember, casting thoughts, etc., both on paper and on my computer. I'm a visual person, so I like to see all my ideas written out before I start putting them in motion. Rarely do I choreograph in a linear fashion; I work on different sections and then try to glue them all together somehow. My dancers are really helpful with that. Right now, for the first time, I've been in the studio with them choreographing as I go along, which I don't usually do, and it's been great to have them present for instant feedback.

LDC: What is your current greatest fear about the festival?
RC: Typically, when I get stuck, I abandon a piece of choreography, or a particular section, and revisit it after mulling it over for a few days or weeks, or even months. I'm worried about how I'll be able to overcome this kind of hurdle without the luxury of having more time to consider certain artistic decisions.

LDC: What's the longest amount of time you've been awake for?  How do you plan to cope with a lack of sleep and lots to get done before Saturday?
RC: Even though I just graduated college in May, I can't say I ever pulled an all-nighter at NYU -- LOL! I was an over-achiever; I would never have left things until the last minute. I'm a night owl, though, and I like to go to bed around 2 or 3, so I'm not worried about being able to stay awake. I think my dancers and I will be able to keep each other focused and motivated! What I love about the group is that everyone always has great ideas to contribute, so I know we'll be able to help each other out, even if someone needs a nap break.

LDC: Anything else you want to share with blog readers?
RC: Check us out on Facebook -- "like" the "Transitions Tap Tour" page and stay updated on where we'll be performing next! :-)

Credit: Chelsea Hack

Credit: Maya Reardon

No comments:

Post a Comment