Creating the Dance with Marcelo Gomes Part I

A recent event hosted by Youth America Grand Prix offered a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of an artistic collaboration - for choreographer Marcelo Gomes' "Tocare." Barbara Brandt asked insightful questions of Marcelo Gomes, dancers Stella Abrera and Alexandre Hammoudi, composer Ian Ng, and musicians Dimitri Dover and Charles Yang as they discussed the challenges and rewards of cross-disciplinary artistic actualization from each of their points of view.

Marcelo Gomes

How do you get ideas?

"I see different things depending on music -- a man dancing a solo, an ensemble -- it's all first inspired by the music. If the music doesn't touch me in a way that I see people dancing, I won't use it." 

What qualities do you seek in your dancers? 

"It's important for the dancer to have a really great sense of hearing music. If we don't hear the same things, sometimes if they can explain what they're hearing to me I might like their interpretation more than mine." 

What's it like trying to translate a piece from idea to a dance?

"You see it in your mind on a plane or wherever, then you take it to a studio and see if it's possible on the dancers. The dancer thinks 'I think his version is this,' and sometimes it's absolutely not! But that inspiration is the most interesting part. The dancers can inspire the choreography. I love getting everyone's feedback."

What did you originally think of the score?

"It wasn't love at first sight. I'd previously been listening to more melodic music, and it was hard for me at first to hear everything that was in this music. But I decided to challenge myself and I fell in love with it."

What's the hardest thing about choreographing?

"Working through the moments of block, when you have a studio full of dancers with their arms crossed, waiting for you to tell them what to do."

To read more intriguing insights from the dancers', composer's and musicians' points of view click here.