Victoria and Cincinnati Ballet Take National Stage for Gender Equity
A dancer’s transformation into choreographer is a deeply personal journey. For Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan, it started at a friend’s birthday party. “It was a fluke,” Morgan recalls. “While I was a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, we decided to do choreography as a present for a friend. I did a section. It was fun and funky.”
Just like the dancers she directs now, Morgan began her auspicious career in the corps de ballet, moving through the ranks before spending six years as principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet. She continued to choreograph during that time, producing small pieces for dancers staged in intimate studio spaces. “There was a sense of intimacy,” Morgan remembers. “It was exploratory, not high pressure, nothing on a big stage.”
Towards the end of her performing career in the mid-80s, Morgan choreographed her first and only ballet for the San Francisco Ballet. “There was a lot of pressure, in part because of the creative team,” she recalled. “Stewart Copeland, the drummer for the rock group, The Police, was the composer, and Tony Walton, a major costume designer for Broadway designed the costumes.” Morgan choreographed a challenging ballet, based on Shakespeare’s King Lear. She says it was exciting, but also mortifying. She received a terrible review, but also a valuable life lesson. “One thing I learned is that experimentation is more educational to the choreographic process, than success,” she says.
It was later, during her tenure as the resident choreographer for the San Francisco Opera, that Morgan recognized the ‘creative invention’ required to choreograph professional pieces. She produced choreography for the chorus and lead singers – the divas of the Opera. “I realized how important it was to choreograph for the performer, to be responsive to them,” Morgan says. “I couldn’t expect a singer to do a tombe pas de bourree.”
“Dancers don’t go to school to get a degree in choreography.” Morgan says, “Every choreographer’s story is different.”
Cincinnati Ballet has now set itself apart in the world of dance as a leader in showcasing female choreographers. Recently this recognition has come from industry leaders including DanceUSA and Dance Data Project. Étoile and our support of Cincinnati Ballet is part of this growth. We are making an impact! Read more about our support is making waves nationally.
Enquirer Article about female choreography and you.