Ballet Idaho has gone above and beyond in adapting the programs during the pandemic, and it has made dance more accessible to the people in Boise. With the introduction of the streaming platform, people have been able to view the arts from the comfort of their own home.
Introducing more content to the platform, Ballet Idaho is releasing NewDance, a series of five pieces, each with its own title, performed and choreographed by company dancers Ashley Baker, Antonio Carnell, Cydney Covert and Daniel Ojeda and a guest choreographer Yusha-Marie Sorzano.
The concept is to allow the dancers to change hats while creating new art.
“NewDance builds on the Ballet Idaho tradition of providing a space for company dancers to switch roles,” the Ballet wrote in a press release, “and take on the challenges of being a choreographer rather than a performer. Ranging from explorations of sharply classical vocabulary and composition to rich explorations of contemporary movement, there is something for every dance lover in this resulting NewDance collection...”
The series will be released in two parts. The first is Six Figures by Ashley Baker and REaDy Set by Antonio Carnell. Boise Weekly interviewed Carnell about his new piece.
BW: How long have you been with Ballet Idaho, and can you tell a little about your training and background?
AC: I trained in Ballet Idaho’s Academy for almost 15 years. During that time, I participated in training programs all around the country on full scholarships.
BW: What was it like to change hats, so to speak? What were some of the challenges of choreographing?
AC: I’ve choreographed before but this was my first time setting work on Ballet Idaho company members. I spent years watching NewDance as an audience member so it was definitely different to become a choreographer. My particular situation was also interesting because I actually preformed in my own work as well, so I actually got to wear two different hats during this process, choreographer and dancer!
BW: The title of your piece is REaDy Set. Can you speak to the theme and what you’re trying to convey?
AC: Similar to the saying, “On your marks, get set, GO!” my work was titled REaDy Set as in “ready, set, go,” as I am preparing myself for some big changes to come in the next year.
BW: The contrasting colors in the press photos are striking. Can you speak to the visual choices?
AC: Personally I have always loved very bright colors, and I find the color red to be very eye-catching. Similar to the striking color you’ll also notice that both myself and my two other dancers are all wearing the same costume, a red crop top with a beautiful red skirt. Over the last few years I’ve noticed a significant change in the clothing that I wear on a daily basis. Some days I choose to dress more feminine and on others more masculine. I tend to be very fluid when it comes to my clothing — it’s a big part of who I am as an individual and I wanted to show that in my work as well.
BW: What are some of the things you’re working on for the future?
AC: In the days and weeks to come I have big big things planned! I’ll be setting some new work that will be performed in Tokyo, Japan next summer. In addition to that I’ll be continuing my work with LED Boise and other local dance organizations. I also plan to spend some time working in LA and New York City!