Ballet Wyoming: An Interview with Kathy Vreeland

Ballet Wyoming director Kathy Vreeland*

Ballet Wyoming’s 2017 ended on a high note, with two performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, based on the play by William Shakespeare, at the Cheyenne Civic Center. (Also performed this season was Peter Pan.)

Ballet Wyoming’s director, Kathy Vreeland, graciously answered a few questions for Wyoming in Motion.

Have you settled on your 2018 season?

Ballet Wyoming is presenting two performances of Romeo and Juliet, on January 19 and 20, 2018; and for one night only – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Act 1)/Dances to the Music of Star Wars (Act 2); on April 13.

[We’ll] possibly [do] The Nutcracker.

How do you decide what shows you are going to do?

I choose the shows based on availability of certain dancers, what I personally feel like setting, what the audience will enjoy and what is relevant at the time.

Poster for A Midsummer Night’s Dream*

You are doing another Shakespeare show in your next season. Did you choose Romeo and Juliet because of the tour of Shakespeare’s First Folio that was exhibited at the Wyoming State Museum this year, as well as the Shakesfaire that Cheyenne’s Arts Council sponsored?

I was on the Board of the Shakesfaire initially, so I must say that did partially have an influence on what I chose last season- especially why I chose A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I have always wanted to set Romeo and Juliet since I have had the ballet company….it is a beautiful ballet with an easy to understand story line. I have a lot of younger adult dancers in the company so the decision was easy.

First I pick ballets on what will be a great showcase for my amazing dancers . Secondly,I choose ballets based on crowd pleasers…what I know will be a crowd favorite and something that they can relate to, and understand the story line.

How are you going to stage Romeo and Juliet?

Our upcoming Romeo and Juliet will have a Western-based theme set in the early 1970s with ranch families fighting over land issues. It will still be completely classical with Prokofiev’s original score. I think it will be fun to set the piece in Wyoming since I grew up here and it is definitely something everyone will enjoy since our audiences live here!

You choreographed the dancing for Midsummer Night’s Dream. How long does it take you to choreograph an entire ballet?

The length of time to choreograph varies from ballet to ballet. Some longer ballets take more time to get motivated and some I already have visions in my head from the get go. It is usually a piece of music that I hear that I must create something to. I always choreograph first then add the music, then set it on the dancers. I sometimes just show up to the studio and set on the dancers organically….I just see how some moves work on them and we work together. Timeline varies on creating a piece…anywhere from a few weeks [as] an absolute minimum [..] to several months.

Tenacity Bricher-Wade, rehearsing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream*

Are you choreographing the shows for next season…and for the Music From Star Wars…will the dancers be dressed in costume?

I will be choreographing everything we present next season. It is a surprise if the dancers will be in Star Wars-based costumes or not- you must come see it to know for sure!

Thank you, Kathy!

* All images from the website.   

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