Ballet AZ Blog

Behind the Scenes with Nayon Iovino: “Today’s Masters”

Q: What inspires your choreography?

Different things. The music. Life. Watching people connect. Helping others connect through storytelling. I love to learn about many different things. Knowledge gives me such great ideas for new choreography. I also have a strong interest in psychology and physics. In this piece I am able to weave them both into my work.

Nayon Lovino in In Ib Andersen

Q: Do you ever choreograph with certain dancers in mind?

A: Sometimes. But for this one specifically, I wanted to be as open as possible. I grabbed the entire company and taught everyone the steps together. Then I assigned roles based on what worked best for each dancer.

Q: What music did you choose for “Today’s Masters”?

A: It is called “Jeu de Cartes” or “Game of Cards”. From what I’ve read, the story follows a game of cards. The different movements are supposed to represent the different hands being dealt. There are different nuances for each hand.

Nayon Lovino in "La Bayadere"

Q: Were you familiar with the piece beforehand?

A: At the beginning of the season, Ib pulled me aside and asked if I would be interested in creating a new ballet. After I said yes, he offered me a piece of music, “Jeu de Cartes”, by Stravinsky. I had never heard it before and at first I wasn’t sure because the music is so complex. It wasn’t really something I would choose on my own. But after hearing it a few times it really grew on me. I felt ready for it.

Q: What is the story behind Stravinsky’s music and how did it influence your choreography?

A: The music’s storyline of a game with three different hands had a big influence on me. This summer I was reading a book about psychology and I thought it could be very interesting twist to the interpretation of the music. I took the storyline of “the game”, and applied different personalities, or different aspects of ourselves, to each of the three movements. I didn’t want to be too literal, but I think the theme goes so well with the music because Stravinsky uses such sharp changes and surprises come out of nowhere.

Nayon Lovino in Alejandro Cerrudo

Q: Is there a specific message or impression you’d like the audience to walk away with?

I want people to interpret this piece on their own. In the ballet different personality traits of a person are being shown. But in someone’s mind there’s a whole plane of colors that make up their personality. It isn’t necessarily black and white. So I want people to interpret the piece as it fits to them and their life. It’s about expression and the unique ways every person shares their feelings.

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