Adam Barruch is a young and talented choreographer and dancer who has an extensive resume of his own performance credits, his company Adam Barruch Dance, and several other commissioned works. This April he will join Peridance Capezio Center for the first time to share his unique and investigative movement style. I was able to talk to Adam about his break into choreography and his thoughts on performing vs. setting work.
How did you decide to be a dancer?
My background is in musical theater; I started at a very early age and was working professionally by age 10. I was introduced to dance through taking Jazz and soon became increasingly fascinated by the work of Bob Fosse. Gradually dance began to take precedence in my life, and I attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in the dance department for 3 years, graduating early to go to Juilliard.
When did you know that you wanted to be a choreographer?
I started choreographing in high school. My love of choreography stemmed directly from my love of dancing and my desire to fully understand how to be the most articulate interpreter I could be. I also love the creative process--making things and especially knowing how things are made.
How has the work of other choreographers inspired you?
I certainly have been inspired by choreographers and artists who have utilized the body as a tool for emotional expression. I love choreographers who allow their dancers a humanity and freedom within their work. When creating work I often look to generate movement that is inherently emotional, almost textual, where an imposed expressivity isn’t necessary--just an open and honest interpretation. My goal is to make work where everything is punctuated enough to create a clear path to understand how it should be interpreted.
This is your first workshop at Peridance, are you planning to teach repertory?
I will start with a combination of exercises and phrases that will initiate the dancers into my movement style. Then I will work with phrases that I am currently investigating and work that is in progress.
What is your goal for this workshop?
To introduce dancers to my approach and give them information that they can use to open themselves up to a continuous exploration of their own movement.
How do you balance being both a performer and a choreographer?
The investigation always starts with my own body, but the real joy is collaborating with dancers and seeing someone else's interpretation of what I create. I find it great fun and an invaluable process to find someone’s niche within a vocabulary that was based in my body. In those instances, I also can break certain habitual movement patterns that I always seem to fall into. From the outside I can see pathways and options available to the dancers that would not be obvious from inside the work (this is especially true in partnering work). As a director I find that I struggle less to give to the dancers when I am not in the piece myself, because my ego as a performer is not involved. I try to keep a balance between creating solo works and group pieces.
Are you still working with other choreographers as a performer?
I tend to focus mainly on my own work, although I greatly enjoy the young choreographers who are working in New York. I am constantly fascinated by their processes and love watching their work come together. There is a great community here of creators who are constantly pushing themselves to investigate and generate new work. I feel that there is a generosity among the group. Dancers are also often working with many different choreographers and companies at once, which I feel enriches the whole community.
Where do you find inspiration outside of the dance world?
Certainly music is a huge source of inspiration, but also theater because of my background. In some ways I am still more of an actor in the way I approach a work. Many of my pieces are linear, but even those that are more abstract come from an internal place and have an emotional texture to them. I like experiencing and creating work that is transformative for the dancers as well as the audience. For me the audience is always part of the theatrical process and I don’t like alienating them. Not that the work is always frontal or overtly presentational, but I like creating work that is meant to connect people to their own humanity.
Based on your own experience what advice would you give to other dancers?
As a dancer, I know what it is like to reach plateaus where the fear of imperfection inhibits one's growth. However, it is often when you push past that point and dive into areas of uncertainty that you discover the most. As dancers we are constantly re-balancing ourselves and our axes always seem to be shifting. I find the moments of recovery when I’m about to lose control to be the most potent with information. I would encourage dancers to find joy in these moments and accept a breathing, living practice as opposed to one of rigid accuracy.
For more information on Adam visit his website.
To pre-register for the workshop click here.