Eddy and Kat Hawks, Artistic Director and Co-Artistic Director of The American Ballet of Los Angeles have announced residency at the newly renovated El Segundo Performing Arts Center. Their first production at the Center, Great Giselle, will be performed September 15th and 22nd, 2012.
American Ballet of Los Angeles’s mission is to premiere world class performances in Los Angeles, nationally and internationally; to collaborate and find synergy with other established and emerging artists; to form sponsorship relationships with premium brands; to build a ballet school in Los Angeles based on the Netherlands Dance Theater model; to produce television shows and feature films; and to support art, education and businesses within regional, national and international communities.
AMFM: If you were to define what you’re doing in a phase or a word? How would you describe it?
It is called the American Ballet Artistic Movement. It is ballet, theater, and multi-media brought together, so that you get many experiences in one, and be entertained by that. Multi-dimensional.
AMFM: Can you tell me a little bit about starting American Ballet of Los Angeles?
EDDY HAWKS: We began American Ballet of Los Angeles in 2010. It was envisioned as a company to use ballet, theater, and multi-media in it’s productions. We started on a small scale with 15 performances, the first season, of small ballet teasers which were about 5 to 6 minutes long each. Kat and I continued to develop the company and we are into our 3rd season now. And very excited about creating new collaborations and new work. KAT HAWKS: One of our mantras is “synergy and collaboration through dance.” Los Angeles is an amazing city and there’s so much talent here, and bringing it together through the language of dance. And then also emphasizing the fact that this is also the entertainment capital of the world. Blending it with the film media really makes something quite unique and it has been a fabulous journey because we have collaborated with so many exciting artists, especially up and coming artists. We have a new collaboration right now with a wonderful lady from Germany, an electronic pop artist named K’Sandra. She is very futuristic and is almost Fifth Element-y in the ideas we have come up with from Luc Besson. She has an album called “Light ‘n’ Dark” and she explores both aspects of the light and dark in this world. Our vision is to give people the light, although you really have to have light and dark in order to create a harmonious world. (PHOTO: Eddy and Kat Hawks by Sara Michelle.)
AMFM: Are most of your dancers also actors and actresses?
KAT: Some of them are. Some of them are just dancers. Some of them are dancers that have an interest in acting. Dancing and expressing yourself on stage is all part of acting. What is interesting is some of the dancers really do have an acting talent because we are pushing the envelope with them.
EDDY: A lot of our artists are doing the dancing but they are also starting to develop as actors. And vice versa, some of our actors are entering the dance world. There are a lot of interesting things going on. On both ends between the two styles of performing.
KAT: One of the really interesting projects that we did collaborate with was with two wonderful producers and directors in Venice, which was one of the films we had in The Great Giselle, which was called “Power Horse.”
AMFM: Tell me a little bit more about your upcoming productions and what it’s going to be like and what you hope for it.
EDDY: We are very excited about returning back with The Great Giselle. It was the first full length piece we did with our company some months back as a romantic comedy. We are also going to be doing an original piece called Nutcracker Love which is inspired by The Nutcracker, but also Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and starts ofF at an archaeological dig in El Haddad, Iraq. It will be an action adventure show. And then we will be doing our third piece called Viva Pancho Villa! We have also been invited to tour to Bratislava, Slovakia, in January, 2013, to create a piece over there with the dancers from their company, the national company. We are trying to see if we can get a very well known singer attached to the project that we can’t name right now who we have in mind, but if it works out it will be wonderful.
AMFM: What kind of work goes into your productions?
EDDY: We start off, let’s say with the dancing, with the choreography and then we create the characters based on the movement. The characters determine the fate of what happens to them in the future, so the choreography is tangent to that.
Then we go into the acting, we start writing the scenes. We write about 12 or 14 scenes per production. So the production has about 12 to 14 acting scenes then it has 12 to 14 dancing ballet scenes. The other multi-media aspect are the films we create which are then screened for the first time at the productions and are part of the story. It’s really exciting to bring all those different types of art forms together.
There is also the musical element. We have about 4 or 5 different musical artists that are with our company who are creating original compositions for the company that are sung and also danced to.
AMFM: So you start with the movement of the body first and you build the story around that.
EDDY: This is the way we have done it so far. We started with the choreography first, with the dancing. What we do, though, simultaneously, is we will be writing the libretto. We will be writing the synopsis and the story which will abide, of course, in the direction and the movement and everything else. It all kind of goes together. We are working very hard at creating a new American ballet style here in Los Angeles. And we believe that this new American technique and style, which we are developing right now will create wonderful and amazing top notch world class artists here. We are working very hard on that. And of course, Kat and I are very strong believers in God and we believe that God has really brought us together to entertain and create this company, so we can give work to fellow Americans, here, and at the same time do something exciting, new and original.
AMFM: The beginnings, starting the company, how hard was it? Any obstacles you had to face and overcome? Has the vision changed since then?
EDDY: What comes to my mind is that, you know from the very beginning, Christine, we have felt that the whole company has evolved very naturally. Yes, of course there have been challenges as with any artist in any small company. But at the same time we have felt that it has really unfolded naturally and things have evolved the way they should have evolved and there hasn’t been too much stress, if you know what I mean. So it’s more like, “okay, let us try to reach out to the community through performances as much as possible.” So we organize those dates and those gigs for the shows. And then the creation part, which is really important. Creating original work that speaks to people and inspires people, motivates people, to think and to act differently.
AMFM: How many people are on stage at one time?
EDDY: It can range from one person to 25 people. In our last production, we had 20 performers and in our future production we are expecting to have more performers.
Our goal for the future of American Ballet of Los Angeles is to have a home, an actual academy where we have our studios and we rehearse.
That is one of our goals, our visions. And the other vision is of course to have a company that tours internationally. When I worked in Hamburg we were in a company of 60 dancers. It was a big company. We had about 150 performances a year and we toured extensively. At least 75 performances were in other countries. That is our goal for American Ballet of Los Angeles. And we want to be able to reach out internationally with our trip to Slovakia in the first month of 2013. It is our first step towards that goal.
FOR TICKETS TO THE GREAT GISELLE: http://ablagiselle.eventbrite.com.