The Young Choreographers' Showcase is a perennial event put on by the OU School of Dance. The showcase features dances choreographed and performed by students. Ballet performance sophomore Micah Bullard is in his second year of Young Choreographers' Showcase and is in three pieces: Amber Bailey’s, Hannah Knorr’s and Laura Pratt’s.
Q: How does the Young Choreographers' Showcase look for you this year compared to last year?
A: This year, it’s similar but different because I feel like I’ve grown a lot more since last year, and I’ve also gotten to know a lot of the choreographers a lot better. This year they know me a little better, they know strengths and weaknesses. It’s still challenging, but it’s a little different.
Q: How has being closer with the choreographers helped you as a dancer and how have your friends been able to push you more?
A: I’m in Amber Bailey’s piece and hers is ballet, but it’s kind of contemporary. It has a lot of partnering, which is cool, but she also told me the first day, "It’s going to be a lot of partnering, but I don’t want you to just be a human prop, I want you to actually dance."
Because of that, she’s pushed me a lot, just in terms of really exploring the movement. She won’t let me get away with not doing things to my fullest. Not that I could get away with that the previous year, but that she’s definitely just been on me about not holding back a lot in her piece.
Q: How is each choreographer different and how do you keep that many shows in line?
A: They’re all very, very different. Amber Bailey is a math double major and the way her brain works is very, very mathematical and the piece is set in stone. She takes that to its fullest and tries to break out of that sometimes and kind of just let things flow a lot of the time, but it’s still very mathematical.
In comparison, Hannah Knorr, there was a point in this where she got a little worried just because it was completely new to her, but just her willingness to kind of play with everyone’s strengths and create a really fun routine. That was just a really enjoyable process.
I dance with Amber Bailey in that piece and we both just kind of made it our own and had a lot of fun with it. Hannah just kind of ... I think just played on the chemistry that Amber and I have in the piece.
Laura (Pratt) had a specific idea for her piece in the certain movement quality — she wanted it very loose and unbound, but she really made a lot of her piece through the use of improv. That was really a challenge, just everyone adapting to her style of movement, but hers is definitely the most contemporary of the three that I’m in and it has a certain challenge to it because of that, but it’s just a really enjoyable process.
Q: Being one of the few male dancers, what kind of responsibility does that put on you in pieces?
A: A common trend between all the men is that no matter how long we’ve been dancing, we progress pretty quickly in the department, just because I feel like all of us have the desire to make up for lost time, so to speak.
With every show at OU that I’ve been in, I feel like I’ve had to progress and learn new skills and be better than I was for the last show, and that’s definitely a good thing. It’s never been negative at all. It’s always just been, like, there is pressure, but it’s a good pressure to push yourself because you have the responsibility. But that’s why we’re all here. It is to get better and push ourselves.
Q: Do you have any hope to choreograph?
Q: In the Young Choreographers' Showcase in the future?
A: Going back to your very first question, my teachers back at my home studio would always be pushing me to choreograph and just create my own ideas back home and it’s been a while since I’ve done that, and I’m really excited to do that with the dancers at OU just because I see so much. I get so inspired watching everyone in class and in performances. For sure, I definitely want to pursue that.
The Young Choreographers' Showcase begins at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 through Jan. 27, with a matinee at 3 p.m. Jan. 28.