Giving dancers the opportunity to create their own choreography on their fellow dancers… it’s part of KCB’s New Moves experience. All of the choreographers have also danced and most are near the start of their choreography journey. Many are from around the country and some are current members of Kansas City Ballet like Sophie Hod or the Second Company as is the case with KCB II member, Malerie Moore.
In 2022, Sophie and Malerie were part of a trio of Second Company members that worked together to choreograph a new work on the Second Company. It was performed as part of New Moves 2022 and was one of the most talked about pieces on that program. This year, Sophie and Malerie will each build on their individual skills and choreograph solo for New Moves. Two women at the beginning of their careers are ready to share their unique voices with a live audience. In an industry that has traditionally been more prone to provide these opportunities to men, this is a welcome change.
“After my experience last year and now this year, I honestly believe to some extent it’s changed the trajectory of my career,” Malerie says. She had always dreamed of being a dancer, but with the push by artistic staff to try her hand at choreography, she now aspires to do more. One day she hopes to earn more opportunities and to inspire other female dancers to do the same.
Building on a Shared Experience
Sophie’s process begins with music. It is her inspiration before she can begin to envision movement in her head.
She says: “When the three of us choreographed last year, we had to develop most of the choreography in our own time versus on the spot in the studio as we were merging three different styles of movement. In past experiences choreographing solo, I have loved including my dancers in this part of the process. I draw much of my inspiration from the dancers I am working with — I like to let them experiment and vocalize their thoughts if something feels off. I want the movement to feel good in their bodies, which is why I think it’s important for me to involve them in the creative process.”
Discovering Her Own Voice
Malerie’s ballet Too Much Talking began with her trying to create a ballet that pleased everyone else. Along the way she learned an important lesson… that creating only with the intent of pleasing others can be a huge stumbling block. She admits choreographing became easier once she decided to let herself be vulnerable and chose not to be afraid of an idea working or not. “Overcoming that fear inside of the process I think only integrated the whole meaning of the piece even more into the movement,” Malerie reflected.
It was only when she approached the task from her own perspective and considered what excited her and what kind of lifts and partnering movements she would want to dance, did she find her creativity spilling forth. A valuable experience for any new choreographer but a crucial one for a young, female dancer to discover: Believing in yourself is powerful.
2023 New Moves Performances
New Moves performances run March 23rd through March 26th at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity (500 W. Pershing Rd.). New Moves 2023 features the works of choreographers Karen Brown from UMKC’s Conservatory, Caroline Dahm, KCB Company Member Sophie Hod, Maria Konrad, Haley Kostas, KCB Company Member Gabriel Lorena, and KCB II Dancer Malerie Moore.
Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios