Featured Choreographer: March 2019
Here, at One Dance UK, we are excited to announce the relaunch of our Featured Choreographer. Each month, a selected member from our choreographers directory will share their unique experiences and highlight some of their upcoming/recent projects with us. Their responses will be posted on our website and the first feature can be found below, by well established choreographer Kate Flatt. To find out more about the choreographers directory, please click on the button below. Happy reading!
Featured Choreographer of the month: Kate Flatt
What has motivated you to pursue a career in choreography?
Curiosity and the challenge to realise a new idea or solve a particular problem. Sometimes it’s the inspiration to create with a performer whose dancing I really enjoy. Other times it’s an interesting commission on a piece such as a Shakespeare play or an opera with fabulous music.
Can you share with us some highlights of your choreographic career and/or your current engagements?
I have had special times with music theatre on Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, and directing ‘Songs from a Hotel Bedroom’ to the music of Kurt Weill. Making a new work ‘Undivided Loves’ for Phoenix based on Shakespeare’s sonnets. Teaching Sean Connery and Uma Thurman to waltz for a movie. Collaborating with some great creatives – designers, directors and lighting designers in opera and text-based theatre. Less glitzy, but very meaningful was making an Outdoor arts piece, Step Ladder and a Goat, and Ballroom of Joys and Sorrows, a large-scale inter-generational work.
How has your choreographic process and work developed over time?
Working with performers I have found that the people who are dancing really matter. They carry the work forward and give of themselves for the work. Choreographic process for me means developing new skills in often challenging and high-profile situations. These have taught me to be fearless when faced with radical change during creation. Research for new work in operas based on a range of dance forms has always been enriching. I now really appreciate the intimacy of being in rehearsal with a few dancers, and development of self-produced, smaller scale work.
What do you think are some of the main challenges that choreographers are faced with today?
With commissioned work for companies there is not always enough rehearsal time to enable ideas to develop properly. It should be about the process of development, rather than delivery of a product. In self-produced work, there can be the possibility to set ways this can happen so that the work can be dreamt, investigated and realised. Space is a vital and almost always expensive commodity.
What advice would you give to emerging choreographers?
Work always towards defining your own authentic voice. It’s too easy to follow trends. Much harder is to dig deeper, find solutions that enable recognition of your own distinctive path. I think there is also too much pressure to have to know it all – but embracing the playfulness of creativity and still learning, is a good place to be.
Apart from ongoing choreographic work, I teach choreography, give professional development workshops and mentor choreographers at different stages of artistic development in their career. I remain very grateful to insights and wisdom received from teachers and mentors (before they were called that) throughout my career. It is also good being open to wherever that might come from.