“City.ballet.” Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: Getting Inside One Choreographer’s Process

Troy and his choreographic tools

In this episode, we get a glimpse into corps member Troy Schumacher’s big premiere for New York City Ballet’s fall gala. Up until now, the young, breakout choreographer of NYCB has been Justin Peck, and he’s gotten a lot of press. But Schumacher definitely looks like someone to keep an eye on.

I found it endearing to hear him describe his choreographic process, which he says always starts with him finding an empty studio to dance around “like an idiot.” He claims he’s been listening to the same piece of music for three years in preparation for this piece—and if you choreograph for a studio, I’m sure you can relate. (I bet there’s a sizable group of choreographers just waiting for Sia’s “Chandelier” to become old and forgotten, so that they can try their hands at it.)

The dancers, onstage and in costume

My favorite part of the episode was hearing Schumacher talk about the difficulty of casting a six-person piece from the cornucopia of talent that NYCB is. Being surrounded with so much talent is like “going to a buffet when you’re really hungry,” he says. What a great analogy!

An interesting item: In journalism, a “puff” piece is a story that comes across as completely subjective, often lavishing a ridiculous amount of praise on the story’s subject. But in the ballet world, as principal Teresa Reichlen explains, a piece that’s “puffy” is one that requires a lot of huffing and, well, puffing to get through its challenging and exhausting choreography.

Click here to watch the full episode.

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