Taylor Rogers | Staff Writer
A guaranteed sign of a choreographer who knows music is when his or her ballet makes sense, when it’s “in tune” with the song, said Steve Crosby, treasurer for the Chautauqua Dance Circle.
It’s not that the dancer moves on every beat, he said. An underlying theme may be expressed through leisurely movement to the backdrop of a fast-paced song.
But the best dances are those that are inspired by the song.
Crosby will speak at 3:30 p.m. today and Wednesday in the Hall of Christ in a lecture titled “From Bach to Rock: Inspiring Great Choreographers.” The lecture is hosted by the Chautauqua Dance Circle.
Crosby is a musician himself. As a pianist, composer and chorister, he said not all those who observe dance can tell when a choreographer is working with the music.
“That’s a personal issue,” he said. “We all have a way in which we respond to the arts. Some people may not really listen to the music at all, but if you’re musically attuned, then you will immediately have a sense of whether somehow the choreography is fighting the music or expressing the music.”
His lecture will focus on those who know how to express the music.
Through video, he said, he’ll show companies from the U.S., Netherlands, Brazil and England, in the hopes of expanding the horizons of those who attend.
“I can absolutely guarantee that there will be choreographers that many people in the audience have never heard of,” he said, adding that he’d like to keep the names a surprise.
Though the CDC’s lectures normally are held only once per week, Crosby chose to speak twice in hopes of presenting a wider range of art.
As indicated in his lecture title, Crosby said the music will be diverse, spanning many years of work so attendees can see how different music inspires different dance.
Following his talk, he said he hopes to have a discussion on the audience’s preferences. Crosby said he thinks it’s important for those who appreciate art to have a platform to express their opinions.
“We’re all critics in a way,” he said, “and it’s important to recognize that because whatever your preferences are … that’s going to affect the way you support the arts.”
He said he’d also like to discuss the health of the dance industry.
It’s no secret that many believe ballet is dying, and Crosby said he’d like to gather opinions on why that is or is not true.
Crosby’s appreciation for dance as a whole comes from the simple idea that it’s welcoming. Hardly anything is left out of a performance. It takes just the right amount of lighting, costumes, theatrics and movement to make the ballet a success.
“I believe that dance is one of the richest of the art forms,” he said, calling it a “smorgasbord.”