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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 11/19/2007

Director Q&A: 'The Studio'

By Erin

As playwright, choreographer and director of "The Studio" at Signature Theatre, Christopher d'Amboise wears many hats. The son of famous dancers, d'Amboise was a principal in the New York City Ballet, a Broadway actor and artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet. "The Studio" captures life behind the scenes of the professional dance world. I had the chance to ask him about the production and his inspiration.

What life experiences inspired this production?
I was rehearsing with dancers from the NYC Ballet and almost every day something extraordinary would happen. Moments of great courage or debilitating fear or hilarity or sensuality were witnessed daily. And they all were revealed without words. I recognized these moments as great theater and wanted to find a way to harness them and share them with others.


Actors perform in "The Studio."(Scott Suchman)

How well do you think most audiences understand the lives of dancers? A dancer's life is no secret but the relationship between the choreographer and dancers is a mysterious one. Most people are not aware of how co-dependent and dysfunctional it can be and at the same time lead to such beauty and transcendence.

What five adjectives would you use to describe the production?
The character of Lisa would say: "Totally amazing!" The character of Jackie would say: "Economical and efficient." And the character of Emil (the choreographer) would say: "Ah!"

How have your experiences as a performer shaped your direction and choreography of the show?
As a performer there is a universal fact, that whatever your goals or ambitions might be, it all starts in the studio. Everything is possible in the studio.

Please describe the production's set. What were the ideas behind the design?
The production is designed to give the audience a sense of being in a studio. The first row of seats [is] actually on the stage. The other scene locations (each character's apartment) are defined by lighting, so that if feels like the actors never leave the studio even when they go home -- a simple metaphor which is so true for dancers.

What do you hope that audiences will come away with?
A sense that they are getting a behind-the-scenes, almost voyeuristic look into the private, passionate world where artists come together to find themselves through the creation of something bigger than themselves.

-- Erin

By Erin  | November 19, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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