There’s a new voice coming out of New York City Ballet. One of its most interesting choreographers, Troy Schumacher, only made his first work for the company this September. He’s largely developed his dancemaking career independently with the company he helped found, BalletCollective.
Sandy-haired, compact and boyish, the 28-year-old Schumacher hails from Atlanta, Georgia. He started out studying tap dance, switched over to ballet and was accepted into the School of American Ballet with only two year’s training. In 2004 he joined NYCB.
Schumacher was curious early on about choreography and taught himself to play piano to better understand music, much as Balanchine studied music to be a better dancemaker. But the similarities end there. Balanchine’s choreographic legacy starts with the music and emphasizes the steps. Schumacher doesn’t work that way. He starts with collaboration – and a theme. Artists he works with provides inspiration: poems, stories, picture or paintings. But rather than choreographing to narrate them, he uses the other mediums as an abstracted springboard to inspire the dance.
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Interview by Leigh Witchel
Photos: Teresa Reichlen and NYCB dancers in Troy Schumacher's Clearing Dawn. © Paul Kolnik
Troy Schumacher, choreographer and New York City Ballet corps de ballet dancer, rehearsing Clearing Dawn. ©Paul Kolnik