My Choreographic Workshop Experience

katelynmay.jpgGuest writer: Katelyn May, Ben Stevenson Academy student

As a Houston Ballet II student, it is an honor to rehearse and perform time-honored traditional ballets by artists of many years ago, as well as works from the masterminds of the present.

Houston Ballet II recently participated in a Choreographic Workshop with four local choreographers, with a concluding performance at the Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex.  While working on the Choreographic Workshop, HBIIs experienced the process of having a choreographer put their artistic ideals into a concrete work for the stage.  In my experience, I had the pleasure of working with three of the four choreographers in the workshop: Tina Fehlandt, Ray Dones, and Garrett Smith.  Each had different ideas about what they wanted to get from their piece.  Needless to say it was an honor and a joy to be part of such a process.  To go from a piece of beautiful music to an entire choreographed work is such a feeling of accomplishment and inspiration.

While I enjoyed working on all of the pieces for this workshop, I had the privilege of working very closely with Garrett Smith.  Garrett is a fellow HBII student (and a friend of mine), and it was interesting to work with him on a professional level. To begin with, his music was beautiful, and served as a source of inspiration for him as well as me.  I was impressed at how creative and logical Garrett was when choreographing things such as the pas de deux that I got to perform with my partner, William Newton, a fellow HBII student.  Garrett came up with interesting and inventive lifts that I would have never thought of, but also always took our comfort and safety into account.  He would always ask for our opinion on different transitions and lifts to insure our comfort in the piece and to maintain the fluidity of the movement.  I was also amazed at how he was able to keep such a tight theme running through the piece.  Like the title says, the dance was about “Subtle Release”.  I was impressed with how Garrett was able to repeat steps throughout his choreography to maintain the theme that the title portrayed.

Working with Garrett as well as the other choreographers was, as I said, a pleasure and an honor.  They all had different and creative ideas about what they wanted their piece to be, and I think that we, the dancers, were able to portray these ideas successfully because of the hard work and creativity of these amazing choreographers.



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