William Isaac on Kymera Dance, Artistic Influence and The Color Green
thatgirl recently caught up with William Isaac, a dancer/choreographer who has had quite a career thus far and shows no sign of slowing down. He has performed with Armitage Gone! Dance, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King’s Lines Contemporary Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Philandanco, appeared as guest soloist with Ballet de Lorraine in France, and was assistant choreographer for the Broadway production of Passing Strange. Imagine our excitement when we learned that he is now Artistic Director and choreographer for his own company, the New York City based Kymera Dance! The company is preparing for performances Sunday, May 25th and Monday May 26th in NYC so naturally, we thought this would be the perfect time to sit down with him to discuss dance, his influences, and this new endeavor.
|William Isaac, Artistic Director, Kymera Dance|
thatgirl: Name one thing that you do very well but enjoy the luxury of having someone do for you.
William Isaac: The life I've been able to lead as an artist in New York city amazes me and I wouldn't trade it for anything or anyone else. At this stage of my life I can't say I have any luxuries or responsibilities that I would ask anyone to undertake, but I am always open to help in advancing my business and creating a better quality of life for my loved ones.
TG: What is the most natural aspect of directing Kymera Dance? The most challenging?
WI: The most natural aspect of running Kymera Dance for me is the creative part. I love getting into a studio with my dancers and watching an idea manifest right before my eyes. It's truly exhilarating. The most difficult part would be running a dance company in New York City. There is a saturation of dance companies here and we are all pushing for the same pot of artistic funding.
TG: You have always choreographed while performing as a dancer in companies. Have you now decided to shift your focus completely from performing to choreographing or will you continue to perform? If so, will you perform with your company?
WI: At this stage I enjoy watching my dancers perform in my works and works by the other artists that I have commissioned and will commission. I have had a full and wonderful career dancing for amazing choreographers and companies but I am fully committed now to the development of those dancers and the company. I would like for people to see me in this light now. As for the future, I will leave that door open as far as my performing with Kymera Dance.
TG: How would you describe your choreographic style/energy of your company? If it were a color what would it be?
WI: My choreographic style depends on my artistic mood and what I feel I can give the artists to further their and my artistic growth. I am always in search of new creative challenges. Having had the opportunity to work under so many wonderful artists, I am now in the process of filtering that information with newly acquired knowledge to paint and sculpt new landscapes. The color I would associate with my choreography is green. I have always found inspiration from nature and the processes that allow continuity while having so many variations.
TG: What was the event in your personal history that has influenced your work the most?
WI: Death has been a large part of my journey and influence. Coming from that generation that saw the tail end of waves of deaths from HIV/AIDS, I lost quite a few mentors. A good part of my journey is to carry on the torch that was passed to me. Along with this, the passing of my mother. Her motto was "If you're going to do it, do it right." She was a very detail oriented woman and she created this opportunity for me to meet my fullest potential by moving to America from the island of Antigua.
TG: Share something that you believed when you were very young that you have found to be true now that you're older and wiser?
WI: No matter what anyone tells you if you believe and work for what you think you are capable of doing, it will happen. The older and wiser part is, it just might not happen when you think or want it to happen.
TG: How do you feel about the term "contemporary dance" as commonly used today?
WI: "Contemporary dance" is a loose term now that gives you a wide area to play in. I am not opposed to it but I believe society has a branding problem. Someone somewhere is always looking to put people and things into nice neat categories or niches. Right now, for myself personally, I would say I'm an artist working in the medium of dance.
TG: A dance you wish you had choreographed?
WI: My appreciation for other choreographer's works has never extended to coveting their work. If anything, I would simply like to know the idea that spawned a great work like (Ailey's) Revelations or (Balanchine's) Serenade or (Forsythe's) One flat thing reproduced.
TG: Twitter or Instagram?
WI: Twitter, real time information I am all for that.
TG: Mountains or the Beach?
WI: Beach, I'm from a Caribbean Island.
TG: Hip Hop or House?
WI: House Music all day. Let me know where Dj Honey Dijon is spinning and I'm there.
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