|Brian Sanders Talks about His World Premiere, Chicken Bone Brain
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Nov 9, 2016 10:30am | comments
Philadelphia’s own choreographic genius, Brian Sanders, will unveil his newest work for Pennsylvania Ballet’s Revolution program this week at the Merriam Theater. Chicken Bone Brain is Sanders’ newest work commissioned by the Pennsylvania Ballet. Brian Sanders was easy going, yet intensely focused about his work, so it was a great opportunity for us to hear more about his world premiere, his own troupe, Brian Sanders’ Junk, and what we can look forward to this week and beyond. [See Photos Here]
Ralph Malachowski: Can you tell us how the Pennsylvania Ballet commissioned you for a new work?
Brian Sanders: Well, I’ve choreographed for their Shut Up and Dance benefits at the Merriam Theater, so I got to know a few of the dancers as well as the theater itself. It really came about when their artistic director, Angel Corella, came to see one of my company’s performances at the Fringe Festival. He was excited by the possibilities and so was I. It is a great opportunity to use twenty classically-trained dancers. I am sharing the bill with two other great choreographers, and I am excited by the opportunity.
RM: What is the name of your new work? I’ve only seen it mentioned as a World Premiere by Brian Sanders.
BS: Ha-ha! (laughter). I think they might be a bit afraid of the title. It’s Brian Sanders’ Chicken Bone Brain. No, it’s not Chicken Bone Brian, but Brain. I like to experiment with set design and spatial dynamics, so what you will see this week will be something really different. We’ll have huge chicken bones as the set, which the dancers will interact with in a dynamic way. It was a challenge using the Merriam’s proscenium stage. I hope to start a revolution of my own with our staging. Get it? Revolution? There will be twelve-foot and twenty-five-foot chicken bones onstage. As for how I think about my titles and my ballets, I use active meditation for my ideas. I’m a big fan of Woody Allen. I hope to be channeling some nightmare out of his film, Sleeper.
RM: I did see some press photographs of rehearsals, and it appeared that a few dancers were spinning around on cables high off the floor. I guess those cables will be bones? Are they then revolving? Another multivalent pun on Revolution?
BS: I think you might be the only one who connected those ideas together. Yes. It sounds right.
RM: How did the name of your troupe, Junk, come about? What does it mean? Did an unfriendly critic early on call one of your dances junk, or is it a pun on genitalia?
BS: No genitals involved. My troupe was formed way before that usage came into vogue. I’m a big-time trash picker. I love using found objects. I love taking that which is used up, old and unwanted and breathing new life into it. That’s where the name came from. Ballet is dated, and I’m trying to breathe new life into the art form. Martha Graham called her works ballets, and so do I. There is pointe work in my ballets.
RM: What is next for you and your troupe?
BS: We’ll be in the next Fringe Festival. We will have a performance by Brian Sanders’ Junk in the spring, probably in April. It’s going to be titled My Funny Bone.
Pennsylvania Ballet is presenting a program titled Revolution with works by Brian Sanders, David Dawson, & George Balanchine, with music by Gavin Bryars, Antonio Vivaldi/Arcangelo Corelli, November 10, 2016, to November 13, 2016, at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://paballet.org/revolution