I Wanna Be An American Idiot





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!


Photo by Phil Mucci

Latest Posts

Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jayme Thornton

Dear Katie: What Can I Do to Get More Flexible?

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a strong dancer, but I don't have a lot of flexibility. I stretch every day, but it feels like I'm getting nowhere. What can I do to get more flexible?


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search