From Dynamite Dancer to Choreographer Extraordinaire!
Author: Scott Alexander Hess
The last time I saw Larry Keigwin he was dancing like Vaslav Nijinsky. I was sharing the stage with him (before I wrote novels I did a bit of acting) in Mark Dendy’s much-celebrated show, Dream Analysis at The Joyce in Chelsea, NYC.
I’ll never forget the way Keigwin lept around me as I sat stock still in a chair in awe of his breathtaking artistry. It was absolutely thrilling. No less thrilling was catching Keigwin + Co. last week again, at The Joyce. The show left me breathless, and once again in awe of such an amazingly talented man. I caught up with Larry before the show to chat about his evolution from dynamite dancer to choreographer extraordinaire!
Scott Alexander Hess: What inspired this work? Do you use external sources like art or literature as you create or is it all from within? The group pieces to me in particular Natural Selection (as a novelist) had a Faulknerian feel to them, with their heightened level of almost violent poetic lyricism.
Larry Keigwin: There were four dances on our program at The Joyce theater, they span the years of 2003 – 2013 — a retrospective of sorts. I find my inspiration in many different ways — it could be from architecture to a contemporary art exhibit in a museum. I am often inspired by the dancers I work with, human relationships, public observations. I am constantly collecting and filing images, once I am in the studio creating with the dancers I am looking for the hook into the work, the image or idea that feels most honest.
Natural selection was inspired by several things, in part by the depression era dance survival story of the Jane Fonda film, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. Also I was inspired by a contemporary art installation by Olifur Elliason that was a huge electric sun at the Tate Museum. I was interested in the exhaustion of the sun paralleling that of human relationships.
Scott Alexander Hess: What lead you from dancer to launching your own company?
Larry Keigwin: I certainly did not make the leap from dancer to choreographer all on my own — there were definitely champions in my life encouraging me. I was always interested in choreographing but there came a day when I was 30 years old when I realized I had created five dances — enough to put on a show, and that’s what we did — with the help of my good friend and collaborator, Nicole Wolcott, we put on a show and titled it KEIGWIN + COMPANY.
Scott Alexander Hess: What’s coming up for your company, and how do you see your work evolving?
Larry Keigwin: After our Joyce Season the company has a tour to Philadelphia, and then we head into the new year. The new year consists of touring, a creative residency at the Rockefeller Brothers Estate and the creation of a short film, Bolero NYC, which is of a signature work of ours. I am very excited about the possibility of collaborating with a director on this film. The company will also be collaborating with the National Symphony Orchestra for a performance at the Kennedy Center in May, and I am choreographing the new Broadway Musical, IF / THEN, which opens on March 30th.