Monrowe sat down with New York-based choreographer, Emery LeCrone to discuss her latest ballet for The Joyce Theater and collaboration with fashion activewear designer & stylist, Victoria Bartlett of VPL.
What was this particular performance at The Joyce Theater about?
LeCrone: It was a part of a festival at The Joyce Theater. It was the second year [of the festival], with six companies and each company had two full evenings to come up with something. I reached out to Victoria Bartlett of VPL about collaborating on this new ballet. We had worked together before at the Guggenheim for Works in Process, and that was the first time I had met and worked with her. I knew that The Joyce Theater would give us an opportunity to work [together again] but more in depth. I wanted to do something more bold and graphic for this show. I saw her spring collection and it really spoke to me.
Victoria’s work is a lot about breaking the body up and putting back together. I feel like your work does the same with movement.
LeCrone: Right away, we identified with the athleticism of dance. We talked a lot about wanting to show the line of the dancers legs but also, using the layering of her pieces, have this unveiling of the body as an instrument. We were [originally] going to use two different palettes but when we saw the colors together it felt fresh and different. As a choreographer I am drawn to neutral tones, whites and blacks but seeing this explosion of color felt like the right thing. Through the choreography, the dancers had several stages and as the choreography progressed, we knitted in cleaner, simpler worlds. By the end, the dancers were just in the neutral body pieces and pants.
Are these the same dancers that are part of your company?
LeCrone: Yes! Everyone that was in this new ballet are in the company. We have one more girl who had a solo in the show and is also in the company. This debut at The Joyce Theater was like a precursor for this new stage in my career. I’m really looking forward to having the tools and studio to keep creating work. For the past ten years, I’ve been working with big ballet companies, small companies, I’ve taught…but it’s nice to get to a place where you can have a consistent interpretation and you can all grow together.
After this experience with Victoria and color do you think it is something that you will continue to incorporate into your future shows?
LeCrone: Color is always a risk. There was a definitely a moment where I saw everything in the studio and it was hard to look at because it was such a stretch for me to go into that direction. However, I felt like this ballet needed that perspective. The lighting designer, Brandon Baker, was just genius. He knew exactly how to balance them with side light and overhead. It just had this really beautiful world on stage. I can’t wait to keep challenging myself in that way with color and new designers.
Is there anything you can share that you are working on for the future?
LeCrone: We are planning a formal February performance season. TBA. Find more details on my website.