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Emery LeCrone answers 7

Matthew Murphy | Special to the DailyNew York City choreographer Emery LeCrone is in town with the Colorado Ballet to premiere a new piece Monday in Beaver Creek.

New Yorker Emery LeCrone has spent the past few weeks in Denver choreographing a dance for 18 dancers in the Colorado Ballet. The piece will be unveiled Monday night in Beaver Creek. There’s a lot of firsts associated with the event. The night is dedicated to premieres; it’s the first time the Colorado Ballet has taken part in the Vail International Dance Festival; and it’s the first time LeCrone has visited both Denver, where the ballet is based, and Eagle County. She took the time to chat with the Vail Daily.

1. VD: You’re working with a large group of dancers. Tell me about it.

EL: It’s been wonderful. I have not had the opportunity before. This is more than twice what I’ve worked with before. The most I’ve had is 8, so to have 18 has been a blessing and educational experience.

2. VD: What can you tell me about the piece?

EL: Having that many dancers, it has a classical ballet structure … it’s four movements total. In Vail we’ll show two sections. It’s en pointe and classically structured, but definitely my movement, which is a little more circular and fluid. There’s some jazz elements in there, too.

3. VD: What is the music like?

EL: The music is Terry Riley. It’s called “Salome Dances for Peace.” Terry Riley is a contemporary composer, when he wrote it in 1989, he originally wanted it to be a ballet with five movements, each one more subdivided than the next. Each section follows a storyline about the mythical character of Salome. I picked little vignettes, certain sections from different movements.

4. VD: What inspired you?

EL: When I was reading about the music, just on the CD, it was saying Salome was this strong female character, kind of a siren, that goes down to the underworld to bring back and restore peace to the upper world. That’s the Cliff Notes version, it’s much more in depth. The music is very dancy. It has a lot of worldly elements in it because of all the traveling and the myth. At times it can sound Middle Eastern, and other times it’s jazzy and driving.

I’ve picked four movements I felt fit really well together. The last movement is the big grand finale. It’s 8 and a half minutes and very physical. You won’t see that in Vail, that will be the closure for the (Colorado Ballet) show in March. I get to see sort of a test run of the piece in Vail. I will come back (to Denver) in March for a week and clean the other two parts and put it all back together in its whole piece. So this premiere is kind of part one of two parts.

5. VD: Did you get to chose the music?

EL: Yes, I got to choose the music. I had two playlists, two options when I came here. You’re never quite sure until you get into the studio and see the dancers what movement is going to stick and how the collaborative process is going to go. We got in the studio with the Terry Riley music and it seemed to fit the dancers and was bringing out great qualities in their movement.

6. VD: How long have you been a choreographer?

EL: I choreographed my first piece in 2006, only five years ago. I grew up taking ballet. I danced with the North Carolina Dance Theatre in Charlotte. I had trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts, then moved to Charlotte and danced professionally with them for two years. That’s where I choreographed my first piece. They really pushed me to explore choreography. It was an opportunity that was unavoidable at that time as it was part of the curriculum. I realized I had a passion for making dances.

In 2007, I moved to New York and submitted work to competitions, and started getting into the choregraphy world that way … I was able to start working for different companies around the country. This year I went back to North Carolina Dance Theatre and premiered a new piece for eight men. Last sumer, I got to go to Oregon Ballet Theatre. And this year I’m here at Colorado (Ballet).

7. VD: Are you still dancing?

EL: Yes, I’m still dancing. I work at the Metropolitan Opera House part time throughout the year. They do have a full time company and then they have a group where dancers like myself are contracted for specific operas, which makes it great for doing freelance work. This year I’m working there January through April. It’s worked out well; this is the fourth season. This time last year I was already working at the MET; this year I get to do more choreographic projects.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.