One way to practice this “un-training” is to give a dancer certain rules or boundaries to work within, but allow the person to essentially improvise or create the details of the actual steps. As a teacher or choreographer, you then guide the development of how the movement unfolds. This type of work is closely connected to visualization. While the students were shy at first, it was fascinating to see them become more comfortable with the concepts.
My work with the students is greatly inspired by that experience with Bill, matched with my own investigation and gut feeling. Through this work I’ve found that I love working with young dancers. Each person is different, and there is no one formula for success. My goal is to use all I know to inspire them to grow as dancers and people.
Today, I incorporate improvisation in my class as a tool, but always balance it with choreography. The students have to practice both free form and structure. The ultimate goal is to dance choreography as if the steps are being created spontaneously and in the moment. There is a delicate balance of precision coupled with abandon.
Every dancer dreams to work with Bill because he has, and always will be, at the forefront of contemporary dance—a direct lineage that started with Mr. Balanchine. What makes a choreographer great is someone who takes the steps we learn in the classroom and creates something new with them. Bill is a master at deconstruction, taking the elements of ballet and rearranging them. The effect is something familiar, yet shocking and tantalizing.