This month, Green Day’s awesomely angst-ridden album American Idiot jumps from your iPod to the stage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, directed by Michael Mayer and choreographed by Steven Hoggett, from Scotland. The band’s record serves as the foundation for an eponymous musical about the bumpy journeys of working-class Americans.
Hoggett, who became a household name with last fall’s Black Watch, talked with DS about working on a larger musical and his distinctive moves.
DS: How have your eclectic background and theatrical training influenced you?
Steven Hoggett: I rarely have a set idea of what something needs to be. I go in with fresh ideas, and I don’t hold to one style. I do my homework via research, and then I make sure the movement is clear and tells the story.
DS: What was your concept for American Idiot?
SH: I worked with contrast—lackluster to explosive, gentle to rage—because the characters are disenfranchised, so there are tons of emotions. The band provides material to which I can see natural choreography. The audiences at Green Day concerts even have their own shapes and I’ve used that!
DS: What were the challenges and surprises?
SH: The show is music from start to finish, so it’s heavy with choreographic content. But the minute I make it look too choreographed, I’ve failed! I have to harness the Green Day energy but not turn it into a dance spectacular. I was thrilled to find that American actors do everything—they’re actors, singers and dancers. It’s amazing to work with people like that!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.