‣ It is not unusual that Tulsa Ballet performs works that extend beyond the classical ballet framework, but I imagine that this is a completely new experience. What have been some challenges you’ve faced be them physical, emotional, or mental?
I have had so many experiences at Tulsa Ballet where I have been pushed to dance styles/movements that were very out of my element and comfort zone. Those experiences have prepared me to deal with the pressures of learning different styles and working with different choreographers in a fast-paced environment.
Dancing hip hop and working with Jennifer was a completely new experience for me and I have never been so sore in my life! Hip hop requires us to be way more grounded and it definitely requires usage of different muscles that I am not used to using. We learned a good amount of floor work which was very difficult for me and required a lot of coordination and upper body strength.
There were also a number of hand gestures and footwork that we all had some trouble picking up because it was so complex!
Hip hop also has such a broad vocabulary of movements and Jennifer did an amazing job figuring out what worked on us and what didn’t. I was so nervous at first to create this piece and dance hip hop, but Jennifer created the best environment for us to experiment and dance outside of our comfort zones and she is definitely the most encouraging and uplifting choreographer I have ever worked with. I felt so comfortable to try the steps and movements even if I looked terrible doing them, but she just created a wonderful learning atmosphere in the studio where everyone felt comfortable because this was a huge “first” for all of us.
‣ What have you learned about yourself during this process?
I have learned that I am not as bad of a hip hop dancer than I thought… haha!
I love experiences like this where I am pushed to step out of my comfort zone and learn a completely new style of dance to become a more diverse and well-rounded dancer. Although it was scary at first, I am so glad that we all just went for it and didn’t hold back and we created an amazing new piece that meshes two completely opposite dance styles and we had the best time doing it!
Jennifer is such an amazing choreographer and person; every day I looked forward to coming to rehearsals because it was so much fun and I cannot wait to get on stage to perform the piece!