Going SoloNews

Sometimes, Always

By February 16, 2021February 23rd, 2021No Comments
Richard Dickinson, MFA is well known for his long career with Ohio Ballet. His connection with Verb Ballets began over 10 years ago. As the Associate Artistic Director, he molds the company dancers but the other hat he wears is as a regular company choreographer. He is known for his eclectic style, combining ballet technique with modern angles and intricate partnering. We sat down with him to talk about his newest ballet featuring the men of the company.

Going Solo February 26, 2021 7pm ET

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Interview with Richard Dickinson, MFA

Why did you choreograph an all-male piece?
I was asked to choreograph a new work for the men of Verb Ballets while the women were learning the Limon solos.

What inspired your new work?
I went into the process unclear where to start or how to approach this undertaking. I began to think of other choreographers that have famously choreographed for men: Ted Shawn, Mark Morris, and Lar Lubovitch. I began to look at videos and photos of their work as inspiration. I wanted to make something unsentimental, about guys. That was the beginning, and it has taken off from there.

What is the new piece about?
The work is about being strong and vulnerable at the same time. Being open to the many possibilities of the universe, and not being afraid of who you are or what you can be. We are expected to have a hard shell around us, like a cocoon. However, I think we should let the world in and experience it. Its joy and pain. Full of energy and life. Don’t be afraid- just be your best!

What is the meaning behind the title?
Sometimes we meet someone that we will always remember.

What music did you use?
The piece is choreographed to the well-known score by American composer Samuel Barber. His String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11. mirrors the four men in the piece. There are three sections but most people will recognize the middle section which I have choreographed as a duet. The composer’s style is distinctive and modern, making it a perfect match for contemporary ballet.

What opportunities or challenges arose from working with a cast of men?
I originally started a full company piece last summer to premiere at Lakeside but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. The ballet stayed in my head manifesting itself. In the studio, I felt like I was watching myself choreograph. I began to ask myself questions about intimacy and structure- content, meaning and musicality. It was a very complicated process that I thoroughly enjoyed. Honestly, I felt like this ballet choreographed itself.

Photos: Kolman Rosenberg

Richard Dickinson, MFA

Choreographer and Associate Artistic Director

A former dancer with Ohio Ballet Dickinson’s association with that company began in 1988. He later became ballet master and director of company touring.   Dickinson was also a soloist with Boston Ballet for eight years. At age fifteen, he joined the Pasadena Dance Theatre and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Emerging Choreographer Award for a work premiered by the same company. He performed in the PBS television production of “Frankie and Johnny” with the Chicago Ballet. and danced principal roles in Asian, European and American tours with Rudolf Nureyev and the Boston Ballet. In addition to his professional work, Dickinson had an extensive dance career including principal and soloist roles at Chicago Ballet, Honolulu City Ballet and various regional companies.  Previously, he served as Artistic Associate for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Artistic Director of Ballet Western Reserve, Great Lakes Festival Ballet, Chamber Dance Theatre. He has also directed Boston Ballet II and has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University.

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