Jul 21, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Christopher Stuart, Resident Choreographer for the Nashville Ballet. Stuart, a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, spent an astounding 16 seasons at the Nashville Ballet, ultimately rising to the ranks of principal dancer. Christopher describes his choreography as “free and limitless,” and his work has been featured in many companies across the American Southeast, while being praised by various dance publications.
As a choreographer of seven years, Stuart has learned much about the nature of dance — lessons which retroactively shine light on his experiences as a dancer — and, on the podcast, he spends a great deal of time discussing these learnings. During his conversation, Christopher recaps his journey as a dancer, talks about not taking rejection too personally, discusses his approach to choreography, and so much more.
“I just kept pushing myself. I loved coming in [to the Nashville Ballet], knowing that there was always something more to learn. Even to the last day before I retired, I was always learning something."
"Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. If you want this career in your life that makes you happy, then you should do it."
“I think dance, in general, is always ever-evolving. We have to evolve with the times. We have to adapt to our world."
“When I cast my ballets, I don’t always cast the person with the prettiest feet or the prettiest legs. I look at the movement that I’m creating and the people that I think best suit that role or piece, no matter of ranks or anything."
“You’re not always going to be what the choreographer or stager is looking for."
“My family gives me strength and ideas, honestly, as a choreographer to create new work."
“One of the pros — and cons, really — of going to a dance boarding school was that you had to grow up really fast… But the biggest pro is that you’re surrounded by many like-minded people… It was amazing seeing all of the artistry at [North Carolina School of the Arts], and you’re around it nonstop."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:14: Christopher discusses his start as a choreographer and how he approaches the process.
8:40: Christopher retells his beginnings in the world of dance and the dancer, in particular, who inspired him to pursue the stage.
11:47: Stuart discusses the pros and cons of attending a boarding school for dance.
13:42: Christopher shares about his time with the Nashville Ballet and how he believes he has been able to successfully rise through the ranks of that company.
14:27: Stuart looks back on a moment when he didn’t achieve a role he was aiming for but how now, as a choreographer, he sees that that situation wasn’t truly a rejection.
18:20: Christopher explains his opportunity to create for the New York City Choreography Institute.
20:49: Christopher — a husband and father — discusses the challenge of balancing his work and his family.
22:25: Stuart explains the importance of children’s arts education and the main lesson that he learned as a child during his arts training.
23:53: Christopher discusses the future of dance and how the art must evolve with the times, while still remaining true to what makes it unique and timeless.
28:40: Stuart gives some important advice to any young dancers wanting to pursue a career in ballet.
Bullet List of Resources –