Inside a Dance Studio is a blog hosted by Pegasus Studios with the aim of celebrating, discussing and learning about how dance can help support and foster healthy and happy children, adolescents and adults. This blog is inspired by our experiences as teachers and owners of Pegasus Studios, a dance studio primarily dedicated to art and health in children, from the ages of 2-20, give or take a few years!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Artist and Choreographer: Nicola Pantin

Dances of Offering promises to be a spectacular show this year. It is our 10th anniversary and we’ve put together a show filled with beautiful pieces from very talented choreographers. One of our choreographers, Nicola Pantin, has shared some behind the scenes information with me about her choreographic process. Here’s Nicola!

Hi Nicola, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Nicola Pantin
Nicola: I trained from the age of five in ballet, jazz and tap in Waterloo at three dance studios. Fell in love with contemporary dance upon moving to Toronto in 1990 and I've been working as an independent dancer, choreographer, and teacher ever since. My latest choreographic gig was a co-production of the musical Seussical for YPT (Toronto) and the Citadel (Edmonton). Upcoming is choreography for a show called the Musical of Musicals for theatre New Brunswick and Henry V for Stratford. I'll also be dancing with Creative Habitat in February for Sick Kids. 

It sounds like you’re very busy, and yet you’re choreographing a piece for Dances of Offering this year! What is the concept for the piece you are choreographing this year?

Nicola: The piece is loosely about two groups of schoolgirls- the mean girls and perhaps what you may call the outcasts: a little moment in how they relate and react to one another.

How did you decide on this concept?

Nicola: I explored some movement and character work with my seven dancers and they seemed to gravitate towards two types of characters. I wanted to present something that they could relate to, that was age appropriate and that they could help be a part of the creative process. 

What have been some of the challenges you have faced in the process?

Nicola: I did not know my dancers well but I wanted to use their abilities, age and experiences appropriately. I set some movement on them and also set up scenarios that I thought were appropriate. Then I used their input to create a theme.  At first, time seemed to be on our side, but once I got to know my dancers, I wished we had more time to explore and refine the piece. We found ourselves at a loss for rehearsal time. However, I feel that we discovered that we'd like to continue to explore these movement themes and concepts as a company in the future. I never expected such generous input from such young dancers. I feel blessed and encouraged by their input. 

Could you tell us about your other piece in the show?

Nicola: The other piece in the show is called The Table Dance. My husband is directing and I'm choreographing and dancing. We are reworking the first six minutes with three new dancers on very little rehearsal - seems to be a theme!

Why did you want to be involved with Dances of Offering?

Nicola:  I used to teach for Pegasus years ago (haha I even taught you!)  I really believe in the school and their mandate. And of course all of their causes are worthy and well thought out. Jane and all the Pegasus staff and family (I taught all three daughters of Jane’s daughters) have also always been very supportive to me as a teacher and an artist. It seemed only fitting to give back when I can. 

Thank you Nicola for taking the time to share with us! I personally can’t wait to see your pieces in the show!

Be sure to buy your tickets for Dances of Offering to see Nicola’s choreography and performance. 

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