I'm lucky that I have had many different production opportunities in these last years. I was already doing a lot of different things while I was still dancing, but it has always been my goal to do both projects in the public sector as well as the more traditional kinds of projects that were expected of me.
The idea of how things mix is central to how I look at every opportunity. How does poetry mix with music, for example, or how can we combine dance and visual art? How does dance cross a boundary into education most effectively? How do these things overlap, and how do you get something new out of these mixtures?
I think that's one of the most exciting aspects of my new role at Juilliard. This is the creative person’s dream, with students of music, dance, and drama all under the same roof, all looking to their futures. The opportunity to see how these disciplines
work together for the betterment of all is very close to my heart.
How have your many years as a dancer influenced the decisions you make as a director, producer, and administrator?
When I was a dancer at the New York City Ballet, I loved to dance a lot, meaning that most seasons, you might have seven or eight performances a week, and I liked to do as many as I could. I loved an eight-performance week. I loved doing as much as I possibly could, and I think that's been part of my ethic, to try to really run the machine.
Towards the end of my career as a dancer, I really did know everything that it took to get on stage. I knew how long it would take, and I knew what I needed to do for myself to give the performance that I wanted. But in my new life, it was very different. I didn't know how long it took to do certain things. I didn't have that same level of understanding, and I think that's an interesting process that we all go through as we try new things. Sometimes an idea plus the pressure of time is where you get the great work, and sometimes it's just a little panicky. I try to learn more
about that every time I try something new.
A recent New York Times article mentioned that you are interested in preparing a new generation for the “DIY world,” where they must create their own opportunities. How do you think the role of the artist is changing or needs to change for today’s world?
This is something that I've certainly noticed, though I also think we are not the first generation to do this. I think there have been many historical periods when people have used a range of methods to get performances to the public, but right now especially, I notice that my younger friends are out there making their own opportunities. They're putting together interesting collaborations. They're self-producing. They're using video and technology and the Internet in ways that sometimes work and sometimes don't, but it's always about finding a new venue of sorts and redefining what “venue” even means. I love that we’re rethinking these ideas. What makes a performance? Is it enough simply to say that you’re the audience and we’re the performers, and you have to watch us or listen to us?
To my mind, these are opportunities for the artists of the future to engage in the world of ideas, and I think a lot about what that means. Who are the elders who can inform this process?
I also love the idea of finding ways to make that creative crossover across disciplines happen. I love finding a way to give artists that platform, with the goal of creating generation after generation of philosophically sound artists: artists who are not simply excellent, but who are also a part of their time, making art, and not just performing.