Choreographer Joshua Bergasse has been breaking new ground for dance on the small screen on the Broadway-themed TV show “Smash.” Though his success on “Smash” has recently made him a household dance name, Bergasse has been a successful musical theater pro for more than 15 years, touring and performing on Broadway before moving on to choreograph musicals across the country. NYC’s in-the-know dancers have religiously taken his classes at Broadway Dance Center for years, and Bergasse has also taught at major dance conventions including Tremaine and West Coast Dance Explosion.
What inspires Bergasse? Read on to find out.
“My all-time favorite project was performing the original Jerome Robbins choreography while on tour with West Side Story. To this day, when I get stuck while choreographing, I just think about that choreography.”
“I like to go to the ballet a lot, especially to see works by George Balanchine or Twyla Tharp. I’m usually story-focused, but at the ballet, I’m so fascinated by the movement quality—the control and strength of the dancers—that I don’t need a story.”
“Right now I’m most inspired by the dancers in the ‘Smash’ cast. I like nothing better than walking into a studio of fantastic dancers who are staring back at me saying, ‘What are we gonna do?’ “
“I love the ‘golden age’ MGM musicals, like An American in Paris and The Band Wagon, and choreographers from that era, especially Jack Cole. Cole’s choreography is quick, earthy and sexy. He’s a huge inspiration for me, especially on “Smash,” because he was Marilyn Monroe’s choreographer.”
“My mom, Annette, was my dance teacher, and she was really into theater, so that’s where my love for musicals comes from.”
“I love that dance is back on TV and in movies. I watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Glee.’ I want to see more of it!”
“My favorite number I’ve done on ‘Smash’ is ‘Let’s Be Bad’ for Episode 5 of the first season. It was about Marilyn Monroe losing control but wanting to stay on top, and it mirrored something that was happening with another character, Ivy. When I have a great story to tell, the choreography just flows right out of me.”
“My favorite Marilyn Monroe musical is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The production numbers are fantastic.”
“I’m a huge jazz freak. I love Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Lillian Hardin Armstrong and John Coltrane. I use their music to calm me down between pieces I’m choreographing.”