Wednesday: Eleanor Smith

October 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

"The Mozart Effect." Photo by Chris Walt

“The Mozart Effect.” Photo by Chris Walt

DP: What was the inspiration for your piece, Mozart Effect?

ES: This piece came out of a study I did on Mark Morris and music visualization.

DP: What inspired your costume design?

ES: I wanted the costumes to be simple in design but bright in color.  Although the piece did not start off with the goal of being light and a little comical, it ended up that way.  I thought the bright colors would support that. The tutus were added just recently, just for fun.

DP: The movement in this piece follows the music very closely. Can you describe the experience of creating movement that illustrates the musical meter?

ES: Yes.  The movement does follow the music very closely. This is the way I work best. First, I have to learn the music well enough to be able to sing it and then go from there. I have done a number of pieces like this specifically to classical music.  Mostly to Mozart because his music is very intricate and I like pulling out the subtleties of his work through movement.  It seems simple to say that I just let my body follow the music when I choreograph this way, but that is how it works.  From there, I take it to the dancers and begin designing the piece.  I have, in the past, taken my dancer’s movement and molded it to fit the music.  That is a very different process.  The Mozart Effect however is all my movement.

Watch some of this movement in a sneak peek of “Mozart Effect”!

DP: What is most intriguing to you about Mozart as a composer?

ES: Mozart was a genius.  Simple as that.  I can say that my appreciation for his music has grown since this piece and continues to grow  since I have used his music on many occasions.  It is very intricate and very involved. It has many layers, even his more simple pieces.  I like his lighter music better; not a big fan of his heavier stuff.

DP: What do you enjoy most about being a professor of dance at Meredith College?

ES: The dance faculty is awesome and very supportive.  The students are great and very eager to learn. They also all present a great learning environment for me as a teacher, which I greatly appreciate.

DP: What do you enjoy doing outside of dance?

ES: I enjoy spending time with my husband and son outside of dance, no matter what we are doing.  We will be adding a second little boy to the mix come December!!

DP: What do you appreciate most about the Raleigh dance community?

ES: The Raleigh dance community is very eclectic. There’s a lot of grassroots dance around here.

DP: Who is your all time favorite dance artist/company?

ES: I’m a big fan of Mark Morris’ process obviously.  However, I do not know if I could narrow it down to a favorite.  I am a big fan of the classics:  Martha Graham, Ailey, Paul Taylor.  But I have recently really enjoyed Shen Wei and David Dorfman (who gives an awesome master class).  Some of our local artists and North Carolina based artists have put out some really awesome work over the years, too.

DP: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming choreographers?

ES: Wow.  Be patient.  Be humble. Be generous to your audience, your dancers, and those behind the scenes of producing your work.  Dance is a fleeting moment.  Enjoy it while you’re in it.

Tune in on Friday, October 18 to find out what makes Eleanor laugh out loud!


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