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How to Create a New Masterpiece: Artist Spotlight with Choreographer, Edwaard Liang

April 23, 2018

San Francisco Ballet has officially kicked off their Unbound Festival celebrating 12 new works in only 17 days (April 20 - May 6, 2018). What excites us most about this series is the empowerment and support that the company is contributing to current choreographers from around the world. This is so important for the future of ballet and we applaud the San Francisco Ballet in this incredible venture!

Between all the countless rehearsals and his travels, we had the opportunity to snag some time with choreographer, Edwaard Liang. Edwaard is the mastermind behind 'The Infinite Ocean' that will premiere on April 26, 2018 as part of the Series D in Unbound.

Scroll below to find out more about what inspired him to create 'The Infinite Ocean' and how he is bringing his vision to life!

((c) Erik Tomasson)

Can you walk us through your process when you begin to create a new work?

Music usually comes first for me, but especially so in this process because it was a brand new commissioned score by Oliver Davis. What is unique about a process with a new commission is that you have a little bit of input on the flow and structure of the whole piece.

Can you tell us what we can expect to see in 'The Infinite Ocean'?

I do have a message for myself, but for a ballet like this, I like to keep the meaning more abstract so that an audience can find themselves reflected back in the work. The general premise--really the feeling--started with a light installation I saw at the Tate Modern by Olafur Eliasson. I was so inspired by this light installation and it reminded me of God's train station.

It spurred the idea of crossing over and the in-between: letting go of the past and jumping into the unknown and the process of it. The audience is sitting where the dancers came from, the front of the stage is the start of this in-between place, and the far edge of the stage at the back is in the "infinite ocean," and that's how the work got its title. I didn't want to tell the audience too much about the piece; I want them to be able to fill in the blanks as they watch.

((c) Erik Tomasson)

What are you most excited about regarding 'The Infinite Ocean'?

I'm excited to be part of this ambitious festival. I think that is the most exciting thing for me: to be a part of this amazing company and this amazing collective of stellar choreographers. I really can't believe I'm a part of it.

What has it been like to collaborate with the SF Ballet?

There are so many parts of San Francisco Ballet that I love: the dancers, the theatre, the rep. But what is very special to me is that Helgi has now invited me several times to work with the company, and I get to share my voice and craft and artistry in my hometown. San Francisco holds a very special place in my heart. I grew up right across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin, and every time I get off the plane and drive towards the city I always feel a huge big exhale.

What piece of advice would you give a young dancer who is looking to become a choreographer?

Do it. There is nothing that distinguishes me from an up-and-coming choreographer or wannabe choreographer. It's just that I have built opportunities to choreograph. But I'm no different than a choreographer who desires to work, because I'm a choreographer who desires to work. I will always continue to hopefully learn, and I still consider myself a wannabe choreographer.

WATCH to find out more about Edwaard and his 'The Infinite Ocean'!

What are you waiting for? Get out there a help keep live arts alive by supporting the San Francisco Ballet and these amazing choreographers and dancers with your attendance! Afterall, this whole experience is for YOU.

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