The Kennedy Center opens its 2018-2019 ballet season with the San Francisco Ballet showcasing the east coast premieres of works by world-renowned choreographers in their program Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Among the impressive list of ballets to be performed is The Infinite Ocean, the latest work by Ballet Met’s Artistic Director, Edwaard Liang.
For those who keep up with who’s who in the ballet world, Mr. Liang is no newcomer. And for those who don’t…well it’s time for you become aware of one of the top names in the industry. He is a worldly man born in Taipei, Taiwan, raised in Marin County, California, and trained at the School of American Ballet in New York. He went on to become a soloist with New York City Ballet, a member of the Tony Award® winning Broadway cast of Fosse, and a dancer with Nederlands Dans Theater 1. And now he’s the Artistic Director of a ballet company and a sought-after choreographer.
But that’s just his bio in a nutshell; we dive a little deeper into conversation with Edwaard just as he’s preparing for Ballet Met’s first program of the season.
Interview with Edwaard Liang
What would you like the audience to know about The Infinite Ocean before seeing the performance?
This work started with the inspiration of Olafur Eliasson light installation for the Tate Modern. It reminded me of God’s train station. So with this idea the piece is about the process or the space of crossing over. I was also grateful that Oliver Davis composed a new score for this new work. We worked closely together on this thematic idea.
What aspects of your life have most influenced your choreographic decisions?
I’m most interested in emotions or the emotional connection.
Is there a particular place where or time of the day during which your creative juices really start flowing?
After a good cup of coffee, a nice glass of wine…usually the wine is with listening to music in preparation – hehehe.
What is the most interesting feedback you have received about any of your pieces?
They all have been interesting, positive, or negative.
Independently, the titles of Artistic Director and Internationally-acclaimed Choreographer carry great weight and responsibility, yet you manage to wear both hats. How do these two roles complement/conflict with each other?
I have learned a lot from being in both roles. As a choreographer you really try to stay true for your work and the audience you create for. As an Artistic Director, you serve at the leisure of the organization and community. They are very different but if you go up higher in view…they both are a part of the dance landscape and voice how important dance is to our culture.
When you are not in the dance studio or at the theatre, what do you enjoy doing?
Making dinner with my husband and working on our house together.
If you could choose a ballet scene that most reflects your life right now, what would it be?
Even though I love my life and career and what I get to do, I’m pretty boring and wouldn’t/couldn’t compare with a scene in ballet or theatre…maybe a minimalist film. 😉
The Infinite Ocean will be performed by San Francisco Ballet on October 25, 26, and 27 (matinee) at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Featured Photo of Edwaard Liang and Grace-Anne Powers © Jennifer Zmuda
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