Thursday, September 22, 2011

A King Makes Music and Dance

Guillaume Côté returns to the Center as part of our upcoming Kings of the Dance.  The star of The National Ballet of Canada will not only display his amazing prowess as a dancer, but he'll also compose one of the scores to be heard in this program of new ballets.  Côté talks about music and dance coming together for him in Kings of the Dance 2011.

How did it happen that your music became part of the Kings of the Dance?

One of the most wonderful things about Kings of the Dance project is that (producer) Sergei Danilian is always eager to do something different. His choice of repertoire is always a very thoughtful process. He asks for our opinion every step of the way and makes sure we are involved and happy with what we are dancing.

In this circumstance, Sergei saw Marcelo's choreography last year in New York and asked him if he could create for this year's galas. Marcelo and I have collaborate as 'composer/choreographer' on couple of different smaller projects and he jumped at the opportunity to get me involved with Kings. As soon as Sergei, Marcelo and I started brainstorming we thought this would be perfect. It would not only be a very inspiring process for us but we think that being part of the show as creators would also add a little different dimension to the evening.

Did you compose the music specially for the project or had you made it before and it was just waiting for the right moment?

This piece was created specially for Kings of the Dance. I have written many different styles of music in the last years. From electronic soundtracks to classically driven work. After having many conversations with Marcelo about the direction we wanted to go, we decided to go as grand and melodic as possible. In a way I've always stopped myself from writing a piece that fell into a 'romantic' category, but for this project I let myself go.

How did it feel when you got the proposal to be a composer for one of the pieces in the Kings of the Dance?

I was thrilled! I love working with Marcelo and I know that no matter what happens, the process of creating this will be truly wonderful.

How does the music reflect the dancing and vice versa, how does the dance reflect the music?

I approached this creation as an opportunity to make a tribute to the Russian romantic composers. I've always held composers such as Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and other close to my heart, so I wanted to try capturing the feel of their music. I've always felt intimidated to try this but I thought, what better time than now.

Once I found the themes for the piece, I started thinking about the Kings involved in this year's project. I tried to split the sections in what I thought was 'personality' influenced. Knowing all the guys pretty well I wanted to personalize it a little.

Also, for the recording of the final score, I collaborated with a fantastic virtuoso pianist. His name is Andrei Streliaev. His incredible artistry was a great influence as well.

How does it feel to have these two parts of your life come together?

I am thrilled that I get the chance to display both my passions in this year's Kings of the Dance. I've been a composer all my life, but this project will have my two true loves come together: dance and composition. It'll be a very exciting evening.

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