We sat down with BDL Spring 2017 Cycle choreographer RON TODOROWSKI to get to know a bit more about his background, process, and goals for working with us. Below is transcript of that conversation.
BDL: Tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from originally? How did you start dancing and how did your transition into choreography occur?
RT: I’m from McDonald, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. I took a summer program of gymnastics when I was eight years old and my teacher’s mother had a dance school. He suggested I take dance and acrobatics there because of my flexibility. My desire to choreograph didn’t come until much later in my career.
BDL: Tell us a bit about your first choreographic job. Is there any advice you would give that young, budding choreographer now?
RT: My first professional choreographic job was assisting Mia Michaels on Celine Dion’s Las Vegas show. We had about 50 dancers and could pretty much do anything we wanted. It was overwhelming and tough, but life changing as well. It was the first time I felt that perhaps I wanted to do choreograph. Mia really encouraged me. The first choreographic job I had was for Wayne State University. I created an eight minute piece without much rehearsal time. My advice now would be to focus on editing. Most of the time, less is more.
BDL: Name one choreographer you admire and tell us why.
RT: Twyla Tharp! Her overall artistry, experience, knowledge, intellect, versatility, work ethic…I could go on forever.
BDL: And you’ve spent quite a bit of time working with her. Tell us more about that experience.
RT: It’s been incredible. She allows an artist the space to find character using dance as the dialogue. Her process has absolutely influenced mine, but my vocabulary I would say is all over the map. I’ve been inspired by so many choreographers I’ve worked with.
BDL: Tell us more about your process now. How do you usually begin?
RT: It really depends on the project, but I’d say most of the time, the music is where it begins. The ideas and other elements manifest from there.
BDL: What made you interested in working with Broadway Dance Lab?
RT: The opportunity to work with a company of versatile dancers with the space and time to work out ideas is extraordinary and any choreographer’s dream!
BDL: Do you have any specific goals for your BDL residency? Are there any ideas you know you want to explore or techniques you’d like to test?
RT: Yes! I’d like to work on an idea I’ve had for several years. My goal is to work on four songs by the same artist, introducing characters and exploring what the full show could be. I really want to stay in the present moment during rehearsal and create from there without hesitation.
BDL: What is it like working with a company of dancers you’ve never met before?
RT: I’ve actually danced with three of the company members before, so that’s exciting! As for the rest, I’m sure I will get to know them very quickly. Sometimes I start rehearsal with yoga and breathing to get connected, but most likely we’ll just dive right in!