Christine Shevchenko and Cory Stearns in Gemma Bond's "The Giving" (Rod Brayman, courtesy Bond)

What Inspires Choreographer Gemma Bond

Gemma Bond's rise as a choreographer has been not meteoric but steady, characterized by constant creativity and commitment to her craft. Her style is informed by her dancing career—she performed in the corps de ballet of two of the world's most renowned companies, the Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Because of this, she says, "I tend to do more of a company piece. You can never really say there's one principal couple." Bond began choreographing at age 13, in the Royal's Sir Kenneth MacMillan Choreographic Competition. More recently, she's created works for ABT, The Washington Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, and others. Her ballets have been performed at the Joyce Theater, Jacob's Pillow, the Youth America Grand Prix gala, and the Erik Bruhn Competition. You can see a world premiere of Bond's new work for the National Ballet of Cuba at the International Ballet Festival in the fall of 2020. –Cadence Neenan

Devon Teuscher and Calvin Royal III performing Bond's "Depuis le Jour" (Rod Brayman, courtesy Bond)

"I recently saw some of Akram [Khan]'s Giselle, and I was really inspired by that. It was very different to what I've ever seen before, and I just thought, 'Maybe I don't have to put so many boundaries on myself.' Sometimes I do a movement naturally, and then I think, 'That isn't classical at all,' or that I haven't put enough ballet in, but, at the end of the day, I don't think it matters, as long as there's movement and a narrative."

"When people ask me 'What do you do?' I always say it's very traditional ballet with traditional technique. And then, the dancers that have danced my works will shake their heads and say, 'No, you have crazy port de bras.' "

"I take inspiration from so many people in different ways: Christopher Wheeldon's partnering is amazing, Alexei Ratmansky's corps de ballet work is so strong, the structure of Pam Tanowitz's work is amazing—the list goes on and on."

"I always love to see New York City Ballet. The way the dancers move is really inspiring. It doesn't matter what they're doing, they seem to play with the music in such an interesting way. And, because I didn't have that training, when I'm watching them, it really inspires me to play with the rhythms of the technique."

"I think, if you're a corps de ballet dancer, you have a lot of responsibility, but in the grand scheme of things, you have the least responsibility in the production—the most weight falls on the principals. So, when I started, I had to prove myself, that I could take all that responsibility. I hadn't been seen in that capacity before."

"I'm not interested in telling stories like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. I want to tell stories that are happening today, that we can all relate to, stories that I know."

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.


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