The Ryersonian’s Kelly McDowell sits down with Choreographic Works 2014 producer, Kenny Pearl. Choreographic Works is Ryerson Theatre School’s largest dance extravaganza. This year, it will run every night from March 7 -15 with two dates featuring matinee performances. For tickets and show time information visit the Ryerson Theatre School’s website.
Q: What is the general idea of Choreographic Works?
Kenny Pearl (KP): “Every year, there is a showcase that allows our (dance) students in second, third and fourth year to showcase an original piece that highlights their talents.”
Q: How do the theatre production students fit into the performances?
KP: “They are in charge of all the lighting, design and stage management. There are 30 students who work tirelessly to make it happen. They are very, very talented and dedicated students and their work — especially with lighting — blows me away.”
Q: How many people auditioned compared to how many perform?
KP: “This year we had 115 auditions over a three-day period. Of that, we narrowed it down to 36 short pieces.”
Q: How did you become producer?
KP: “This is my second year as producer, but this time Vicki St Denys had me take over at the last minute, so it was rushed but I’m still very confident and excited about it.”
Q: What is the most common style of dance?
KP: “Generally, we see contemporary pieces the most, but there are still hip hop, music theatre and ballet styles to name a few.”
Q: How long was the audition process?
KP: “Around a week long. We started one of the first days back from break on the Wednesday. The auditions took place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Callbacks were the following week and the final post was on the Wednesday, so it’s a quick turnaround.”
Q: Are the pieces primarily solos, duets, or group dances?
A: “This year, there is a good mix. We try not to have too much of one thing. We will never have two solos back-to-back and we try to have students push out of their comfort zone. If someone dances solos primarily, we encourage them to do a quartet or trio to grow as a performer.”
Q: What is your favourite piece?
A: “I personally don’t have a favourite piece in general, but my favourite thing to see is the growth in our students from the audition period to the final performance. That’s what I consider my favourite part. I think back to how the students started their piece and think ‘wow, this has grown just like the choreographer or dancer has.’”