Choreographer’s Inspiration: Ibsen’s House


Courtney Elizabeth performing in my work, "Ibsen's House" (© Erik Tomasson.)


When I was asked by Helgi Tomasson to be a part of the 75th Anniversary season I thought immediately of creating a work that showcased the virtuosity of the women of San Francisco Ballet.  The virtuosity that I wanted to showcase was not only because of their incredible technical abilities, but mostly because of their thirst to want to do dramatic roles and desire to dive into the psyche of a character.

Prior to my dance career I studied music and theater all the way through college at Washington State University.  It was then that I was first exposed to the work of Henrik Ibsen and “Hedda Gabbler”.

I also was very fortunate in 2003 to create the tarantella for “A Doll’s House” at A.C.T. under the direction of Carey Perloff.  I went to as many rehearsals as possible and watched Carey really get into the exploration of the characters of Nora and Torvald Helmer with her actors.  Under further exploration of Ibsen I started reading more of his works where he wrote a series of plays that challenged Victorian conventions, particularly those concerning the place of women in society.

I was very intrigued and inspired by his radical ideas about marriage and gender roles that outraged many of his contemporaries in the late nineteenth century, and the challenge of creating a work that shows this through gesture and movement.  Not an easy task, but I was in great hands through this journey with the artists of San Francisco Ballet, Designer Sandra Woodall, the guidance of Carey Perloff and the inspiring music of Antonin Dvorak.


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