Richmond Ballet‘s New Works Festival opens this Thursday, April 4th (through April 14th) and brings new dance works from four innovative contemporary choreographers: Starrene Foster, Sasha Janes, Darrell Moultrie, and Amy Seiwert. Richmond Arts Review asked each choreographer to answer a few questions. This is the second installment, with responses from Associate Artistic Director and choreographer for North Carolina Dance Theatre, Sasha Janes.

For tickets to the New Works Festival, go here.

Sasha Janes

Sasha Janes

RAR: What, if any, new directions is ballet taking?

SJ: I am not sure that ballet is taking a new direction, of course technically the steps will continue to become more complicated and breath taking, but the fundamental tradition of ballet still remains the same. I am excited that dance in general is getting so much exposure and is creating a new generation of audiences, although it may be an audience with a somewhat shorter attention span than a four act classical ballet may require.


RAR: What are your most powerful non-dance/non-music creative influences or inspirations?

SJ: I think I find a lot of inspiration through human nature and interaction, be that positive or negative. I also have 3 small children, and watching they way the move around with out any concern for what people might be thinking of them is a tremendous source of inspiration.


RAR: What is the biggest lesson you’ve gleaned from your recent experience choreographing with Richmond Ballet for the New Works Festival?

SJ: I have not often worked with dancers that I do not know, which was both intimidating and exhilarating. Regardless of the outcome  it is important to put your full trust into whatever dancers you are working with, and to allow them the freedom to explore within the choreography, after all at the end of the day it is a collaboration.


RAR: Do you dance in your sleep dreams?

SJ: I use to dance in my dreams all the time when I was still performing, those dreams have tapered off in the last year or so now that I am not. But I enjoyed them a lot, well most of the time, dreaming that you can’t stop a pirouette no matter how you may try! on the other hand turning up on stage with no idea of the choreography and stark naked is a dream I could have done without!