Ballet Austin II dancer Sarah Hicks lets us into the world of creative “workshopping”.
As a young dancer, you don’t often have the privilege to be choreographed. The opportunity to have a completely new work of art created for you is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of being a dancer. The fact that I have experienced this with Nelly van Bommel’s Hansel and Gretel is absolutely thrilling, to say the least.
Every choreographer works and creates movement differently. In Nelly’s case, we went through an exhilarating, entertaining and, at times, completely hysterical process we called “workshopping.” In these creative brainstorm sessions Nelly would give us a simple idea, such as pretending to run through a room full of shattered glass, and have us show her our physical interpretation. From there, she would take the movement we gave her and morph it into something quintessentially “Nelly.”
After much manipulation and innovation on Nelly’s part, we ended up with movement that could easily be described as playful, energetic and even mischievous. Her choreography is largely based on a tribal-like community feeling in which moving as a group and being comfortable with your fellow dancers is crucial. She challenged us to create games, to be shamelessly verbal while dancing, and to spend a lot of time rolling, stomping, scooting and crawling on the floor (activities we “bun-heads” generally find mortifying!). Despite all this, the challenges paid off and we ended up with a piece that is funny, charming and truly unique.
Another notable quality of Nelly’s work is her use of props. As an audience member, you will quickly find yourself thrust into a world of spinning tables, four wheel drive shopping carts, and velcro cupcakes. Nelly created a full sensory experience in her fabulously comical interpretation of a fairy tale classic.
Hansel and Gretel is entertainment for the whole family, sure to please audience members of all ages. Don’t miss it!
Hansel and Gretel opens Feb 25. Tickets available here.