Nashville Ballet-ALIAS Partnership Profile: Gina Patterson

ALIAS is partnering with the Nashville Ballet for yet another cross-genre “Emergence” series, coming May 29-31 to The Martin Center. “Emergence” will feature works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec, including “Amorisms”. ALIAS, the Ballet and Portara are commissioning the new “Amorisms” CD, expected to release in early 2015.

Nashville Ballet’s guest choreographer, Gina Patterson, is helping to bring “Amorisms” to life by taking the recordings and creating dance movements that connect to the music. Gina took a few minutes out of her demanding schedule to discuss her part in this artistic cross-genre collaboration.

Q: What are the most challenging choreography elements in the “Amorisms” piece for the Emergence series?

Gina PattersonOne of my challenges, as with any new creation, is to find a way into the piece. “Amorisms” was already commissioned and on its way when I was invited to take part in the Emergence Series, so I didn’t have any influence in shaping the music or concept of the piece. I loved the ideas behind what Paul Moravec was writing and was up for the challenge of taking on the unknown. I’m still in the process of discovering my approach to it.

I like the variety and complexity in the music. I can see an ending, so I know the rest will follow. It is a very full piece of music compared to the more minimalist music to which I naturally gravitate. My work is generally very dense and I approach the choreography as another instrument — another line rhythmically so it will be interesting to see what happens in the studio in May. I work with a many different kinds of music though. It keeps creativity alive, so I am very much looking forward to getting inside this work.

Q: What do you think are the most exciting elements of this piece?

I am honored and excited to be creating to a piece of music composed by Paul Moravec, and an original piece at that. Working with the Nashville Ballet is always exciting to me. I enjoy a deep creative connection with the company and am happy to continue our work together. I also love working with music with vocals. I have a weak spot for the voice as an instrument. While many choreographers avoid lyrics or interpret them directly, I embrace the challenge of translating not just the words — but the intent and emotion of the lyric through my dance language. I see it as physical poetry.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a choreographer?

I never decided to be a choreographer as much as it happened to me, or rather, followed me around until I gave in. I always considered myself a dancer; my spirit will always dance through life. I created my first work just to try it and then I kept being commissioned to create pieces and I just kept saying yes. Like I said, I like a challenge. But one day I really fell in love with choreography. I see now that everything I have done until now, led me to what I do today as an artist.

Q: As a choreographer, what types of works would you like to do in the future?

I want to continue collaborating with other artists; musicians, visual artists and designers working together in an integral way — from initial concept development through to the performances. I have been working with musicians in the dance studio a lot in the last few years and there is nothing like it. I want to continue working in a multidisciplinary way, creating full evening, original works — full experiences for the audience. The best part of making work is the creation process. So I want to be surrounded by people I can trust and with those like me who are open to vulnerability. We can push each other to be better artists and better people. By working together we can open up a whole new way of looking at the world.