Art Works Blog

NEA Arts: Trigger Points for Inspiration

Septime Webre wears many hats: dancer, choreographer, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, and, lately, yoga enthusiast. As befitting a master multi-tasker, Webre takes inspiration from several sources, as he reveals in our interview with him--"Trigger Points for Inspiration"--in the latest issue of NEA Arts. In this excerpt from our original interview , Webre shares how he gets from inspiration to work of art.

"[F]or as long as I've been choreographing, my process has been pretty darn similar. There is the collaborative process well in advance, the planning stages with composers and designers and mapping out the structure. But the last thing to come always is the steps. You know, in the final weeks before the premiere, we actually have a rehearsal where we're actually creating the steps. This is the last thing that happens.... [I]t's like in filmmaking, you know, you've got to go through all that planning to choose the shooting time wisely. So a year or a year-and-a-half, sometimes two years out, I might start working on the libretto. And then, from that comes the score. And after that comes the sets and costume designs, because they have to be built way in advance. The final stage is the choreography. It's really the last thing to show up. I always have choreographic ideas in the early stages. But I don't work with dancers until relatively late. And I generally work with a six-hour rehearsal day. And, you know, after rehearsals, I go home. I take a little break, maybe eat a little supper. And then, generally, each night from 8:00 until 11:00, I will sit at my dining room table with the music and a cold Mexican beer, and prepare for the next day's rehearsal... And the beer and the music, somehow team together, collaborate together, to inspire steps for the next day."

Visit arts.gov to read our entire inspiration-focused issue, including online-only extras!

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