Onwards and upwards… The LINES Ballet Training Program rises to meet the challenges of 2017 with beauty, grace and collaborative spirit. Witness the dancers’ stories and ideas as they unfold. We asked 4 of our featured student choreographers 3 questions about their creative process and experience. Read on for more…


Alex Schmidt

What was your inspiration for your piece?

The inspiration for my piece was developed over time as the piece progressed, but started from the concept of life’s loops. I wanted to explore with my dancers how it feels to be swallowed by the gray space of a loop- the oppressing, personally exhausting cycle that never fully leaves one’s mental presence. This exploration allowed the movement and phrasing to unfold into the piece it has become, and throughout the process I was constantly being inspired by my dancers commitment and willingness to being vulnerable in open light.

Why did you want to choreograph this semester?

I wanted to choreograph because I have never choreographed before and have always been somewhat intimidated by the idea of creating my own work. Recently I have been finding inspiration in even the littlest of things and I  wanted to challenge the boundary of my own comfort in a different way. As this is my last semester in the Training Program, I decided to sign-up and see where it leads. This seems like the perfect place and time to try something new for myself.

What has been one rewarding experience in this creative process so far?

I would say every part of this process has been rewarding – the challenges, the excitement, the unfamiliarity – all in different ways. I have surprised myself by finding a lot more enjoyment in choreographing than I expected I would, and this process opened up a new door for me that I don’t know could have been opened without this experience.


Mazarine Rossert

What was your inspiration for your piece?

The initial inspiration was in reaction to Trump’s travel ban. I wanted to highlight the beauty of Middle Eastern cultures and countries. I wanted to find a song with a strong female vocal lead, originally having Arabic in mind. However, after a few days of research I ended up deciding on a Turkish song about a bird called “Huma Kusu” from Iranian Mythology (this also changed later on when rehearsals started). I researched the bird, which led me to the idea of fire due to its phoenix-like characteristics. According to Iranian myths, it is also considered a compassionate bird which bounced off my initial theme.

From there I also found myself wanting to emote how confined, stuck, confused and heartbroken I felt about my injury. My emotional pain was a huge source of inspiration. My dancer, Lina Perino, had surgery mid-December and I wanted to tap into the emotions that follow coming back from surgery, having been through it myself two years ago.

I wanted this piece to be about her finding her wings again as she rediscovers the joy of dancing after a rocky few weeks of recovery.

This led me to the idea of water “oppressing” the fire, which led me to playing with the idea of a beach and sand which I associate with deserts and Middle Eastern countries. There are two main themes but all the research I am doing around those themes directly tie to one another. I am finding inspiration everywhere I go.

Why did you want to choreograph this semester?

After having choreographed last semester, I found myself itching to create again. I had learned so much during the process and wanted to see how I could use this newfound knowledge from my last experience. I wanted to make a statement through my work, and found myself feeling very inspired in general. I also wanted to use choreography as a means to stay artistically engaged and inspired while I stepped back from dancing to recover from an injury. I consider it my creative outlet.

What has been one rewarding experience in this creative process so far?

There have been a few. Seeing Lina find her joy again as she came back to the studio after her surgery for one. Another big one was seeing the piece come together after allowing it to develop in a very different direction than I’d initially thought. I am asking a lot from Lina emotionally in this piece, and seeing her embrace the emotion and seeing it transform her movement has been really rewarding too.

Erin Taylor

What was your inspiration for your piece?

My prominent inspiration for this piece is my own experience with dualism in the mind-body problem. In philosophy of mind, dualism is the position that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical, or that the mind and body are not identical. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, and between subject and object and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind-body problem.

I view my thoughts and the world surrounding me as a mirror, but evaluate my body as if I am looking at a mirror made of metal, not mirror material.

The movement I’ve created is a reflection of this.

Why did you want to choreograph this semester?

I’ve been choreographing for a few years now and I personally feel it’s the most honest form of expression.

What has been one rewarding experience in this creative process so far?

The most rewarding aspect of this process has been my relationship with my dancers. They approach each rehearsal with professionalism and trust in my vision, and I feel that I have been able to convey my ideas effectively in an organized and purposeful fashion.  We are working hard, together as a team.


Jessica Eckardt

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What was your inspiration for your piece?

I was playing with the “what if?”‘s in life. All of my material was created with wonder and curiosity.

Why did you want to choreograph this semester?

I wanted to choreograph because I was scared to, and you should always do what you are scared of.

What has been one rewarding experience in this creative process so far?

It has been so rewarding to watch my material translate onto Kathleen’s body, especially since we are such different movers. This piece is the middle ground between my movement quality and hers.


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Student Choreography Showcase Spring 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 7pm
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 7pm

at LINES Dance Center, Studio 1
26 Seventh Street at Market, 5th Floor, San Francisco

$10 suggested donation at the door.


Cover photo and final photo by Jason Lam. All other photos provided by respective choreographers

Written by Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is comprised of an internationally renowned contemporary ballet company, three education programs that serve pre-professional dancers, and a dance center that provides adult drop-in classes for all levels. The LINES Ballet mission is to nurture dynamic artistry and the development of authentic creative expression in dance, through collaboration, performance, and education.

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