Photo by Isaac Aoki

A conversation with Marketing Director Michael Erickson

Next up in conversation with the nine choreographers of Jumpstart 2020 is trainee Sophia Stefanopoulos. You can read her full bio here.

Q:  Hi, Sophia. Tell us about your piece for Jumpstart 2020. What’s the title?

A. My piece is entitled Chroma.

Q: What inspired you?

A: Whether you’re looking at art in a museum, noting people’s fashion as they walk past you, or seeing what’s outside your window, the colors of every day things we see can provoke thoughts. Simple but beautiful colors can connect qualities with matching tones. Red for passion, yellow for happiness, blue for sadness, etc. Everyone has their own interpretation and association of colors with specific qualities that can make them feel a certain way. I wanted to explore that concept in a neoclassic ballet piece where the girls resemble colors and let that influence the way each one moves. Although they have unique sets of characteristics, they can all work together in harmony, just like a work of art.

Q: How does this message translate into your choreography? 

A: Choreographically, all the Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, and Gerald Arpino pieces I’ve learned and performed have influenced me in the creative process. They are artists that have always inspired me as a dancer and especially have as a choreographer for this piece.

Q: Tell us about your musical selections.

A: I have two pieces: Three Romances Without Words Op. 17: No. 2 Allegro Molto, composed by Saint Saëns, and Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Major, FWV 8: IV Allegro Poco Mosso, composed by Franck. Both pieces are played by Julian Steckel and Paul Rivinius.

Q: Is your piece contemporary or classical?

A: I would call this neo-classical (which refers to the 20th-century style of classical ballet exemplified by the works of George Balanchine).


Q: So, you’re choreographing this piece on your fellow dancers. Is that a satisfying process? 

I’ve loved bringing my piece to life! Seeing the progress through every rehearsal was so exciting and gratifying, but it also challenged me to keep going and creating. I really enjoyed working with each of the girls in my piece. Just as they are learning the choreography from me, I’ve been learning from them as well.

Jumpstart is our annual showcase of emerging talent featuring the dancers of Grand Rapids Ballet as both choreographers and dancers. Artistic Director James Sofranko provides this platform for them to explore their artistic vision and bring their inspiration to life by creating short works for the people of West Michigan while gaining valuable experience as choreographers.

Jumpstart 2020 is March 6-8 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre. For tickets, visit our website, Ticketmaster, or call 616.454.4771 x10 today. 

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